Afghan Women’s Soccer Team Accuses Officials of Sexual Abuse

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Afghan executive is investigating allegations that avid gamers at the girls’s nationwide football group have been sexually and bodily abused by means of male coaches and officers, together with the pinnacle of the Afghan football federation, officers stated on Tuesday.

President Ashraf Ghani stated in a closed-door speech to the Afghanistan Nationwide Olympic Committee on Monday that he had ordered the investigation into the Afghanistan Soccer Federation in line with a record in The Dad or mum ultimate week whose revelations he known as “surprising to all Afghans.”

FIFA, the sector frame regulating world football, is undertaking its personal investigation.

The scandal has precipitated the group’s predominant sponsor, the Danish sports clothing corporate Hummel, to withdraw its make stronger. “The documentation offered to us isn’t just a sign of gross misconduct and abuse of energy by means of the A.F.F. officers, it’s in direct distinction to our values,” the corporate’s leader government, Allan Vad Nielsen, stated in a remark. “We haven’t any different selection however to cancel the sponsorship.”

The accusations focal point on Keramuddin Keram, the president of the Afghanistan Soccer Federation, which governs each males’s and ladies’s football, in addition to different male officers from the federation.

When she organized a training camp in Jordan in February of this year, Ms. Popal said, she was shocked that the Afghan federation sent a male trainer and a male official to chaperone the team. One of the men got drunk and tried to force some of the women into having sex with him, including inside the women-only dormitory, and both of the men sexually harassed team members, Ms. Popal said.

When the players threatened to complain, Ms. Popal told The Guardian, Mr. Keram, a politically influential former governor of Panjshir Province, beat one of them with a snooker cue, and threw her and eight other women off the team, alleging they were lesbians.

Hummel also focused on Mr. Keram. “Allegedly, the president was complicit in allowing the abuse to happen, and did not respond to the allegations put forward by the national team,” the company said.

Ms. Popal said that when she learned in Jordan about the abuse of players, the victims were concerned about keeping everything quiet for fear that their parents would stop them from playing on the team. She said she had called Mr. Keram to tell him about the abuse.

“He promised that he would follow the issue and punish the abusive trainers,” she said. Instead, they were promoted to other federation jobs, she added.

The Afghanistan Football Federation issued a statement calling the allegations “groundless” and saying it had “a zero-tolerance policy toward any type of such behavior.”

It said no one had ever brought such accusations to its attention.

Mr. Keram did not respond to repeated requests for comment over four days. His chief of staff, Massoud Hassimi, said Mr. Keram was still the federation president and that only the main doors of the federation’s offices required fingerprint scans to open.

Mr. Ghani didn’t announce any movements in opposition to the football federation and didn’t say if he believed the accusations. “Even supposing mere allegations motive our other folks to forestall sending their little kids to sports activities, we wish to act right away and comprehensively,” Mr. Ghani stated.

Legal professional Common Mohammad Farid Hamidi promised to announce the results of his investigation within a week.

“Rule of law and justice protects the rights and honor of athletes and families who send their sons and daughters to pursue a profession in sports,” Mr. Hamidi said. (Mr. Hamidi himself was criticized in a recent report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, a United States agency, which said he presided over an “unproductive, corrupt and patronage-laden office.”)

FIFA said it had long been aware of the allegations and was investigating them. “FIFA has a zero-tolerance policy on human rights violations and condemns all forms of gender-based violence,” the organization said in a statement. “The serious subjects mentioned are being looked into by FIFA.”

Neither the FIFA statement nor Afghan officials addressed calls from players and Hummel for the Afghan federation or Mr. Keram to be suspended. “Once the facts are established, whatever remedial measures are needed will be taken,” a FIFA spokesman said.

Accusations of sexual abuse against male officials running women’s teams in Afghanistan are not new. In 2016, the head coach of the women’s national cycling team was accused by the team’s American founder and many of its members of repeatedly marrying and divorcing his riders, under duress, as well as other offenses. The coach, Haji Abdul Sediq Seddiqi, was fired but never prosecuted.

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