President Ashraf Ghani on Monday called on the Attorney General of Afghanistan to launch an investigation into reports of sexual misconduct by the officials of Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF) against members of Afghanistan National Women’s Football Team.
“International media including The Guardian newspaper and Afghanistan media leveled some allegations against Afghanistan’s football federation and this is shocking for the Afghan people. Any kind of disrespect against the athletes and sports personalities of Afghanistan, including Afghanistan’s sons and daughters, is not acceptable, so I call on the attorney general to carry out legal procedures in line with his legal authorities. I call on the attorney general to assess the case thoroughly and broadly within the framework of the law,” said Ghani.
“I don’t accept any kind of immorality,” he said.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan Attorney General Fareed Hamidi said that an inclusive investigation plan has been under way to get to the bottom of the allegations and serve justice on those found guilty.
“When we heard about the allegations, we assigned an investigation team, under the leadership of one of the deputies of the attorney general and head of the crime investigation department of the ministry of interior, including the attorney general’s Prosecutor's Office for the Investigation of Crime, along with the Attorney General's Office for the Prohibition of Violence, to launch a joint investigation into the case. The investigation officially launched today,” said Hamidi.
He said that allegations against the football federation has posed a serious shock to the sports community of Afghanistan and the Afghan people, particularly, Afghan girls and other sports figures who want to raise Afghanistan’s national flag at international events.
In reaction to allegations over sexual and physical abuse of some members of Afghanistan National Women’s Football Team, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) on Saturday said they will run a thorough investigation into the claims.
A number of former members of the women’s football team has claimed that some officials from the technical cadre of the Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF) have abused members of the team sexually and physically.
After the allegations made over sexual and physical assault on women players at AFF, Khalida Popal, a former player at the Afghanistan National Women’s Football Team who lives outside the country accused the leadership of the AFF over sexual and physical abuse of female players.
Popal said the sexual and physical abuse took place at the Afghanistan Football Federation headquarters and at a training camp in Jordan in 2016.
“The challenge that our players were always faced with, was sexual harassment from officials, coaches and people, who came to our exercise camps as representatives of AFF,” Popal told TOLOnews in a Skype call on Saturday.
“All of them (members of the women’s football team) should respect girls as their sisters and mothers. They (members of the women’s football team) should be supported. But it is a ‘shame’ when they (AFF officials) are doing this,” Raeesa Sadat, deputy head of the modern pentathlon federation, told TOLOnews.
Meanwhile, The Guardian, quoting Popal, has written that the AFF director Keramuddin Karim, has a bedroom at his office where its door uses a fingerprint recognition system. Popal said when the players go into the room, they cannot get out unless Karim opens the door.
“Not only that, he has a room inside his office which is a bedroom with a bed. The doors of his office [use] fingerprint recognition, so when players go in they can’t get out without the fingerprint of the president,” Popal said, as quoted by The Guardian in a report on Friday.
But on Sunday, Head of Afghanistan Football Federation, Keramuddin Karim rejected the claims against him and his office, which said he and other employees of the authority have sexually and physically abused female members of the federation including women football players on different occasions.
“It is a custom in Afghanistan that everything is good when someone is in (an organization), but everything is broken and disrupted when that person is out,” Karim told TOLOnews on Sunday.
“I am really disappointed about their (women footballers) remarks and I am sorry that they made such remarks, which are difficult for them and for any other person to prove the allegations. Now the issue is legal and we must follow it,” Karim added.