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Nepal players bailed in W/Cup fixing case

10 November 2015, 17:06

Kathmandu - A court granted bail Tuesday to Nepal's national football captain and four other players charged with treason over alleged match-fixing in World Cup qualifiers, a lawyer for one of the defendants said.

"The Special Court has ordered the players to be released on bail," said Nani Babu Budhathoki, representing former national footballer Bikash Singh Chhetri.

All five players, including skipper Sagar Thapa and national goalkeeper Ritesh Thapa, have denied any involvement in match-fixing following their arrests last month in the capital.

Prosecutors have sought life sentences for the five, including defender Sandip Rai and coach Anjan KC, after they were charged on Sunday under a 1989 act against unlawfully jeopardising Nepal's sovereignty, integrity or national unity.

Also read: Nepal five in court on treason charges over match-fixing

"The court has declared bail in the amount of 500,000 rupees ($5,000) for Anjan KC and Ritesh Thapa, 100,000 rupees for Sagar Thapa and 50,000 each for Sandip Rai and Bikash Singh Chhetri," Budhathoki told AFP.

A physiotherapist, Dejiv Thapa, has also been charged with treason in absentia.

Detectives said the arrests came after significant sums of money were found deposited in the six suspects' bank accounts from suspected match-fixers based in Southeast Asia.

The six men are suspected of involvement in match-fixing over a period of eight years, including several games played in 2011 as part of Nepal's unsuccessful bid to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The scandal is the latest blow to the Himalayan nation's sporting reputation after All Nepal Football Association president Ganesh Thapa was forced to step aside last year over allegations he embezzled millions of dollars and accepted bribes during his 19-year tenure.

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