December 13 – Just days after Afghan Football Federation president Keramuddin Keram was removed from office by the country’s attorney general while allegations of sexual abuse against members of the country’s women’s national team are investigated, FIFA has followed suit by banning him due to the ongoing probe.
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani ordered an investigation after Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported last month that senior figures linked to the Afghan women’s team had alleged that some players had been molested by officials from the football federation.
The Afghan government opened the probe into what 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 even though the Afghan Football Federation has called the claims “groundless”.
“The investigatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has provisionally banned Mr Keramuddin Keram… from all football-related activities at both national and international level,” FIFA said.
“This provisional measure expires 90 days after its notification and may be extended pending proceedings on the merits of the case.
“This sanction has been imposed in connection with ongoing investigations concerning AFF officials, as reported by local authorities and published by some media.”
FIFA said Keram’s sanction came into force immediately.
According to the Guardian, the alleged abuse took place inside the federation’s headquarters in Afghanistan as well as at a training camp in Jordan last February.
Although Fifa’s move will be widely welcomed given the seriousness of the allegations and is totally the right decision, it does throw into question exactly when its ethics process can and can’t swing into action
FIFA is for ever banging the drum about the illegalities of government interference in the affairs of its members yet increasingly has had a tendency to cherry-pick its battles rather than enforce the no interference rule across the board.
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