12/16/2018 3:26:41 PM

Afghanistan asks FIFA for evidence of abuse against women footballers

Afghanistan asks FIFA for evidence of abuse against women footballers

Kabul, Afghanistan: Afghanistan's attorney general on Sunday called on football's world governing body FIFA to share evidence about allegations of sexual and physical abuse against the women's national team. 

The request is part of an ongoing investigation into claims of abuse by male officials against players in Afghanistan's female football team, Jamshid Rasuli the attorney general spokesman told reporters in Kabul.

"We officially ask FIFA to provide us with any evidence that may help the investigation," he said. 

FIFA on Wednesday suspended the president of the Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF) Keramuddin Karim for 90 days over allegations of sexual and physical abuse against the women's team.

The move came days after the attorney general's office said it also suspended five officials, including the president of AFF, to facilitate the investigation into the case. 

Allegations were first reported in November by Britain's Guardian newspaper, which cited what it described as senior officials associated with the women's team who said the abuse had taken place in Afghanistan -- including at the AFF headquarters -- and at a training camp in Jordan last February.

Former captain Khalida Popal -- who fled the country after receiving death threats and has spoken out previously about the discrimination women face in Afghanistan -- was quoted as saying male officials were "coercing" female players. Rasuli said Popal had been contacted to provide evidence for her claims. 

"We also ask all the women support organisations, media and activists to share their information with us about women's abuse in the football federation so that a proper decision is made about the case," he said. 

Earlier this month, Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani ordered the attorney general to conduct a "thorough investigation" into what he called "shocking" claims of abuse by male officials against members of the women's team. 

FIFA has also said it was looking into the claims, while the Danish sportswear company Hummel announced it had cancelled a sponsorship deal with the team due to the allegations.

"We have also asked Hummel to provide us information about the cancelling of their support to the team," Rasuli said. 

Afghanistan has made strides to promote female football. As well as the national side, four years ago it launched its first all-women's league that ran in parallel with the men's.

In 2017 the female teams were sidelined by a lack of funding.

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