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Five Nepal Internationals Face Life Imprisonment for Match Fixing
- November 10, 2015 By Nemanja L. -
Five Nepalese footballers who were arrested in a match-fixing scandal could spend the remainder of their lives in prison if they are found guilty, it has been revealed.
Some four weeks back, the authorities in Nepal arrested five current and former members of the country’s national football team having found suspicious banking transactions in their accounts believed to be linked with match fixing.
National team captain Sagar Thapa, shot-stopper Ritesh Thapa and defender Sandip Rai were the three active members of the team that were detained, along with former players Anjan KC and Bikash Singh Chhetri.
The Footballers Accused of Treason
They are suspected to have accepted money from illegal betting syndicates in Singapore and Malaysia to fix a number of matches, which even included a 2014 World Cup qualifier.
The five players have been accused of having helped fix several matches over an eight-year period, with the 9-0 defeat to Jordan in a 2014 World Cup qualifier also under investigation.
And while the footballers were immediately suspended by the Nepalese Football Association, they have since been charged with treason and face life sentences if they are found guilty.
Nepalese authorities have suggested that they have evidence of banking transactions taking place between match fixers and footballers in question that show the players receiving payments ranging from $1,000 to $1,500.
The footballers will be given a chance to make their statements in the Court in the coming days before a hearing will take place where the judge will decide whether they will remain in custody or released on bail.
However, considering the severity of the charges and the government’s determination to ensure this does not happen again any time soon, everything suggests the five footballers will not be getting a taste of freedom any time soon.
It is by no means easy for professional athletes in countries with low gross domestic product to resist the temptation of hefty rewards promised to them in case they throw matches, but Nepalese sportsmen and women will think twice before following the example of five men who were given the honour of representing the country abroad only to take advantage of the privileges for dishonest purpose.
These life sentences appear to be quite popular in Asia with illegal operators in South Korea also threatened with life imprisonment.