December 5 – The Afghan government has now followed the lead of the AFC and FIFA and opened an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse against the national women’s football. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called the allegations of abuse by male coaches and officials ‘shocking’.
“It is shocking to all Afghans. Any kind of misconduct against athletes, male and female, is not acceptable,” said Ghani. “I ask the attorney general to conduct a thorough investigation compliant with our legal codes into the issue.”
The team’s sponsor, the Danish sportswear company Hummel, has withdrawn its support. “The documentation presented to us is not only an indication of gross misconduct and abuse of power by the A.F.F. officials, it is in direct contrast to our values,” said the company’s chief executive Allan Vad Nielsen in a statement. “We have no other choice but to cancel the sponsorship.”
The accusations centre on Keramuddin Keram, the president of the Afghanistan Football Federation. Khalida Popal (pictured left), a former player and the Program and Event Director of the Afghanistan women’s team, said Keram had sexually harassed players in a bedroom in his office. She detailed gruesome details about Keram’s modus operandi. Popal said that Keram trapped women in the bedroom that had been rigged so that it could be opened only from the inside with his fingerprint scan.
Further abuse by other teams officials would have occurred at a training camp last February in Jordan. AFF Secretary General Sayed Alireza Aqazada has denied the allegations, but Hafizullah Wali Rahimi, the president of Afghanistan’s Olympic committee, said such allegations were not new.
“Even if mere allegations cause our people to stop sending their sons and daughters to sports, we need to act immediately and comprehensively. I do not tolerate sexual abuse,” said Ghani.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1555611588labto1555611588ofdlr1555611588owedi1555611588sni@o1555611588fni1555611588