November 8 – Players from Afghanistan’s men’s team are boycotting their World Cup qualifying match against Qatar over alleged poor treatment by the national football federation.
A total of 18 players have reportedly refused to play on November 16 including three who play overseas, and who have sent a letter to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and FIFA detailing complaints and allegations of serious corruption.
“The last straw came at the last camp when a big group of us decided that we’d had enough – 18 players got together and said: ‘If we’re going to move forward, we have to put a stop to this,’” Noor Husin, who plays for Southend United in the fifth tier of English football, told Britain’s Guardian newspaper
“We really want change. We want to help domestic players because the money they are getting from FIFA is not being used in the right way.”
“We have the worst flights possible and we have to stay in sub-standard hotels. We’ve come together as a group because we want football in Afghanistan to move forward and we believe that it’s not going to move forward with the people that are in charge at the moment.”
The players claim the AFF executive committee held on to half of the bonus that should have gone to the squad for reaching the next stage of the World Cup qualifying
Faysal Shayesteh, a former captain who signed the letter, added: “Every year our federation gets financial support from FIFA and from the AFC. We want to show a positive Afghanistan to the world so we are asking FIFA to stop supporting our federation financially because the money is going into the pockets of a gang who is ruling football in the country.”
A FIFA spokesperson said: “FIFA was informed of these allegations very recently and is currently looking into the matter.”
The AFF’s general secretary, Behram Siddiqui, has denied the allegations and said “such behaviour falls under the jurisdiction of FIFA’s compliance team.”
“Since the regime transition in August 2021, there has been no movement of funds from FIFA or any external sources to the football federation’s bank account. Therefore, any previous actions concerning this issue are not within my knowledge.”
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org