December 10 – Afghan Football Federation president Keramuddin Keram (pictured centre) has been suspended while allegations of sexual abuse against members of the country’s women’s national team are investigated.
The move comes just days after the Afghan government opened the probe into what Afghan President Ashraf Ghani described as ‘shocking’ accusations made by several former players and Kelly Lindsey, the American former head coach of the team.
The decision to remove Keram along with five other officials was taken by Afghanistan’s attorney general’s office even though the Afghan Football Federation has called the claims “groundless”.
FIFA is also examining the allegations which first came to light in Britain’s Guardian newspaper and prompted the team’s principal sponsor, Danish sportswear company Hummel, to cut ties with the AFF and call for new leadership.
According to the allegations, Keram himself sexually harassed players in a bedroom in his office that could only be opened from the inside with his fingerprint scan.
Lindsey expressed her relief at the news of the suspensions telling the Guardian: “For years I have listened to stories of how women are treated in Afghanistan – seeing and hearing the disparity in our players’ voices.
“I have seen how these men have destroyed the bonds, trust, and unity these women built together through teamwork. For every step forward we went through a despairing step back at the hands of these men.
“I stopped in my tracks when I saw the news and felt for once in these women’s lives they can see that unity can lift them out of despair. That their voice has finally been heard and hopefully for their bigger mission to help all women and children of Afghanistan have a voice and live their dreams.”
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