FIFA bans Afghan football official over sexual abuse scandal

Former federation general secretary banned for 5 years for failing to act on abuse allegations made by women players.


In a further fallout from a sexual abuse scandal, FIFA, football’s world governing body, has banned a top Afghan official for five years for failing to act on allegations made by women’s national team players.

In a statement on Friday, FIFA said Sayed Aghazada, the former general secretary of the Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF), was guilty of various violations in its investigation of complaints lodged by several female Afghan football players against Keramuudin Karim, the former AFF president.

Karim was banned for life in June, while five other officials were suspended in December.

The female players’ complaints related to sexual abuse between 2013 and 2018, at a time when Aghazada, who is on the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) executive committee, was general secretary.

“In its decision, the adjudicatory chamber ruled that Mr Aghazada was aware of this abuse and had the duty to report and prevent it according to the FIFA Code of Ethics,” FIFA said on Friday.

Aghazada, who was also a FIFA standing committee member, was fined 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,000).

FIFA said Aghazada was notified of the decision on Friday, with the ban from all football activities nationally and internationally coming into force immediately.

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‘Repeated sexual abuse’

The verdict could remove Aghazada from the AFC’s executive committee months after he was elected to a four-year term.

His election in April came despite the Afghan football body being subject to ongoing investigations.

The AFC said in a statement it “will wait until the decision is final and binding” before acting to remove Aghazada from his position.

Aghazada can appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Players in Afghanistan‘s women’s national team had accused federation officials of sexual abuse and cover-ups for several years.

Afghan judicial authorities and FIFA announced investigations last year when players went public with allegations, seeming frustrated with the pace of previously confidential inquiries.

FIFA banned Karim for life in June after he was accused by several players of “repeated sexual abuse.” He was also fined one million Swiss francs ($1m).

Kelly Lindsey, Afghanistan’s women’s team coach, has criticised FIFA for not pursuing other officials more aggressively.

FIFA said it was still “looking into the allegations that have been made against other individuals in connection to the same investigation and to their positions as football officials.”

The national women’s team was formed in 2010. Their most recent FIFA ranking was 145.

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