FIFA extends ban of Afghanistan Football Federation president
FIFA, world football’s governing body, has extended the provisional ban of Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF) president Keramuudin Karim by a further 90 days.
Karim was originally given a 90-day ban in December when allegations emerged of sexual and physical abuse by male officials from the AFF towards members of the women’s national team.
“During this time, Mr Karim will continue to be banned from all football-related activities at both national and international level,” FIFA said in a statement released on Tuesday.
After the allegations came to light, Danish sportswear brand Hummel canceled its sponsorship deals with the AFF and demanded Karim’s resignation.
“This further extension is an added delay and it is vital that the investigation into the allegations against the President is made an absolute priority,” Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, a former FIFA presidential candidate, told CNN in a statement.
“Serious sanctions must be taken against the AFF and all its presiding staff members, until the AFF can demonstrate that safeguarding policies and processes are in place.
“The crisis in football in Afghanistan is about more than just one man and highlights profound failings in the integrity of world football governance.”
In response to FIFA’s decision to extend the ban, an AFF spokesperson told CNN: “This decision is currently being challenged at FIFA by the AFF and the presiden.”
In December, former Afghan player Khalida Popal, told CNN the abuse had taken place during a seven-day training camp in Jordan at the end of January last year.
Popal, who was forced to flee Afghanistan and now lives in Denmark, was present at the Jordan training camp. She says that at least five women were abused in their rooms by two male officials, who had been sent by the AFF to accompany the players.
Apart from Popal, other players have only spoken anonymously, fearing for their safety and that of their families.
In a statement released at the time of the allegations, the AFF said it “vigorously rejects” the allegations and said it had a “zero tolerance approach” to abuse. It said the allegations were being driven by “former employees.”
In December, a FIFA source said the world governing body had called in help from the United Nations.
“The safety of those involved was the most important aspect in all of this,” the FIFA source told CNN.