KATHMANDU, Aug 23: All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) doubled the monthly salary of national footballers on Thursday afternoon, just before the Nepali national team took on the Maldives in the first match of the Nehru Cup in Delhi.
ANFA executive committee on Thursday decided to pay Rs 10,000 monthly each to the national footballers from now onwards.
ANFA also decided to pay Rs 5,000 monthly each to footballers in the women´s national team. This is the first time ANFA is paying national woman footballers.
ANFA President Ganesh Thapa informed media after the executive committee meeting that the association has decided to double the salary of FIFA referees and assistant referees also. Referees and assistant referees will now receive Rs 4,000 each every month.
"We are paying players and referees out of our own resources," said Thapa.
Meanwhile, ANFA has decided to double the grants provided to all district associations. As per the decision, every ANFA district association would be getting Rs 50,000 every year. Altogether 45 district associations are recognized by ANFA.
Likewise, ANFA has hiked the salary of coaches working in the 45 member districts from Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000.
Rs 80 million for Mini-stadium
ANFA has also decided to construct a mini-stadium within Kathmandu Valley through the investment of Rs 80 million, which ANFA collected in gate money for different international tournaments hosted by Nepal in last three years.
"We´ll start the construction right after we get land for the mini-stadium," said Thapa. "We´ll look for grants from the government, FIFA, AFC and other donor agencies," he added.
Thapa also informed that the association has been talking to government about land at Golfutar, Mulpani, Malpokhari or Tokha. "ANFA suffered losses while organizing the AFC U-22 Qualifiers but we were able to save gate money from every other tournament. This Rs 80 million is gate money paid by Nepali football lovers to watch football," said Thapa.
ANFA restructures League
Meanwhile, the executive committee meeting decided to restructure the league format of the country. ANFA dissolved the National A Division League, which it had started last year.
However, the district leagues of A, B and C divisions as well as the National League among district champions will continue but there would be no participation of clubs from the Martyrs Memorial League.
Clubs of the Martyrs Memorial League would rather compete in A Division and Super League format from the upcoming session. "We are yet to decide the prize money for the winner. However, the champion A division club would get around Rs 7.5 million after the super league round," said Thapa. "The previous concept of the National League stands scrapped as we saw huge gaps between clubs of the Martyrs Memorial League and the clubs from the districts. The concept could not bear fruit in the development of football," he added.
New awards announced
Meanwhile, ANFA has decided to establish an award in memory of the late Sharad Chandra Shah, former member-secretary of National Sports Council. "Shah was a person who made a great contribution in Nepali sport and we decided to establish an award in his memory," said Thapa.
The award carries a purse of Rs 500,000 and will be given every year. "We will award a person, club or district association contributing to Nepali football," said Thapa.
Likewise, ANFA has added two categories to the Rupak Memorial Award. ANFA announced the best woman footballer and best coach categories from the upcoming season. ANFA used to award the Rupak Memorial Award to a male footballer and a referee every year. ANFA established the award in the memory of former national team captain and FIFA referee Rupak Raj Sharma. The winner of the award gets Rs 100,000 and a motorcycle.
Meanwhile, ANFA President Thapa informed that the association is to get $ 50,000 from FIFA under the project for preparing playing grounds in 10 hill districts. According to Thapa, Ilam, Dhankuta, Panchthar, Sindhupalchowk, Dolakha, Kavre, Palpa, Syangja, Baglung and Lamjung would get their shares in the project.
Likewise, ANFA has started work on an astro-turf ground at Satdobato and parapets at the ANFA Technical Centers in Butwal and Dharan.
The ANFA meeting has also sanctioned a decision to provide Rs 500,000 each to the bereaved families of U-14 footballers Sagar Pariyar and Ranjan Thapa, who lost their lives in a bus accident two weeks earlier.
$100,000 controversy discussed
ANFA President Ganesh Thapa said that the executive committee meeting discussed the controversy about his son Gaurav Thapa, also an Asian Football Confederation staffer, receiving $100,000 from disgraced AFC President Mohammad Bin Hammam. "We had discussed the issue without much attention since AFC and FIFA have been probing it," said Thapa. "We also considered it a personal issue rather than an issue for ANFA," he added.
Earlier, an independent audit report by AFC had shown that Gaurav Thapa had received $100,000 in his bank account from Hammam, who is under the FIFA and AFC scanner on allegations of enriching himself and handing over cash to his relatives and supporters.
However, Thapa has been claiming that it was a personal loan from a friend.