Prince Ali praises Afghan whistleblowers but says football must prioritise protection

July 16 – Former FIFA vice president Prince Ali bin al Hussein of Jordan says the governance of world football must be stepped up in the wake of the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (CAS) judgement to uphold the life ban on ex-Afghan FA chief Keramuddin Karim for sexual abuse.

Prince Ali spearheaded a campaign early last year to establish a proper grievance procedure so that victims of sexual predators are not too scared to come forward.

At the forefront of the Association Football Development Programme (AFDP Global) social enterprise, he said at the time that  FIFA must push the case to the very front of its in-tray.

Now, in the light of the CAS ruling, Prince Ali, who failed twice to land the FIFA presidency and is these days concentrating on trying to use the game as a tool for social development, cited the Afghan case as a classic example of the need to prioritise such issues.

The judgement, he said, “is a final vindication for those brave players who, despite grave risks to their personal safety, spoke out about the abuse and harassment they faced as members of the Afghanistan National Women’s Team.

“Many people worked tirelessly so that the players’ voices were heard, especially the inspirational Kelly Lindsay and Khalida Popal.

“The sanctions imposed by the FIFA Ethics Committee and now upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport send a clear message that the abuse of women in football will never be tolerated.

“However, the crisis in football in Afghanistan is about more than just one man and highlights profound failings in the integrity of world football governance.”

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