July 5 – FIFA has gone on the attack following stinging criticism of its alleged lack of action to deal with the scourge of sexual abuse pervading the women’s game.
Earlier this week, Afghanistan women’s coach Kelly Lindsey, one of those who blew the lid on sexual abuse by the country’s federation chief and others, blasted FIFA president Gianni Infantino personally, accusing him of not doing nearly far enough to stamp out the practise.
Lindsey was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of ‘Fearless Football’, an initiative set up by the social enterprise body Association Football Development Project (AFDP) Global and its founder, former FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, aimed at eliminating abuse in the women’s game.
Lindsey charged that apart from banned Afghan FA leader Keramuddin Karim, FIFA has done precious little to punish other alleged culprits. More than 75 current and former players have so far signed a global petition calling for female players to be better protected.
FIFA has been quick to respond to Lindsey’s remarks saying it was “surprised and disappointed” by her “ill-informed and unjustified” remarks and adding she knows full well that others are being scrutinised.
“FIFA is carefully looking into allegations levelled against additional persons, and will not hesitate to take appropriate measures and impose sanctions if justified, just as it has done in the case of the president of the (Afghan) association,” it said in a statement.
“FIFA has also taken a leading role in supporting those players who were forced to leave Afghanistan to gain asylum in safe environments and out of immediate danger.
“We continue to stay in close contact with them and support them in rebuilding their lives and recovering from the abhorrent ordeal they have suffered. “
“The coach of the national team, Kelly Lindsey, is well aware of these efforts and the support that FIFA has provided, and we are therefore surprised and disappointed by her criticism, which we consider to be both ill-informed and unjustified.
“We would like to reiterate that FIFA has a zero-tolerance policy on human-rights violations and unequivocally condemns all forms of gender-based violence.”
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