Afghan authorities and FIFA are investigating allegations of sexual abuse of members of the national women’s soccer team by officials from the Afghan football federation.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported on Friday that senior figures associated with the Afghanistan women’s team alleged that players were molested at the federation’s headquarters and at a training camp in Jordan last February.
The AFF’s president Keramuudin Karim has been named as one of the alleged perpetrators.
Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said the government took the allegations very seriously and was examining the case.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported on Friday that senior figures associated with the Afghanistan women’s team alleged that some players were molested at by officials from the Afghan football federation
‘Based on a decision from the Attorney General’s office, a team has been set up to investigate the case,’ he said.
The Afghan Football Federation denied the claims in a statement, saying it ‘vigorously rejects the false accusations’ and has a ‘zero-tolerance policy towards any such type of behaviour’.
The federation also warned that the report could lead to threats being made against members of the women’s team.
At a news conference on Saturday, AFF Secretary General Sayed Aghazada added: ‘Such allegations are baseless and we will have a thorough investigation.’
Allegations of sexual contact outside marriage can have deadly consequences in Afghanistan.
Secretary general of the Afghanistan football federation (AFF) Sayed Alireza Aqazada (left) speaks during a press conference in Kabul on December 1, 2018. Football’s world governing body FIFA is looking in to claims of sexual and physical abuse on the Afghanistan national women’s team
Secretary general of the Afghanistan football federation (AFF) has ‘vigorously’ rejected the abuse claims made this week in Britain’s Guardian newspaper
Victims of sexual harassment are often extremely reluctant to come forward for fear that they will be accused of adultery.
A spokesperson at FIFA, the world football federation, said it had a ‘zero tolerance’ policy on abuse and was looking into the Afghan case but addressing the issue in a ‘do no harm way’ towards the victims.
‘As some aspects of these allegations involve sensitive topics linked to the protection of those involved, we have sought support from relevant parties who willingly offered their support to FIFA,’ the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
‘Once the facts are established whatever remedial measures needed will be taken.’
The team’s main sponsor, the Danish sportswear brand Hummel, has severed its ties with the AFF over the claims has called for new leadership, the Guardian reported.
Hummel said it was ‘presented with strong allegations of severe mental, physical, sexual and equal-rights abuse of the female players by male AFF officials’.