FIFA Bars Afghan Soccer Chief for Life After Sexual Assault Accusations

PARIS — FIFA on Saturday barred the president of Afghanistan’s soccer affiliation from the game for all times, months after studies emerged that he had sexually assaulted gamers and had threatened them after they went public with their accusations.

Soccer’s international governing physique introduced the punishment in opposition to the Afghan official, Keramuddin Keram, on the second day of the Ladies’s World Cup in France. It mentioned that Mr. Keram had “abused his place and sexually abused varied feminine gamers, in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics.”

Mr. Keram additionally was fined a million Swiss francs (about $1 million).

The sanctions in opposition to Mr. Keram have been essentially the most vital but issued by FIFA in opposition to a senior official accused of sexual misconduct. The punishment comes amid a string of accusations of rape, sexual abuse and harassment by girls in a recreation lengthy dominated by males. Final month, officers in Gabon introduced a judicial investigation into claims that members of the nation’s under-20 girls’s workforce had been raped and mistreated by federation workers members throughout a event in France.

Khalida Popal, one of many unique gamers on the Afghan girls’s workforce and a longtime supervisor, mentioned in a Twitter put up on Saturday that she was happy with the ban of Mr. Keram, however that it was solely a primary step.

“We’re not performed but,” she wrote, including: “We shouldn’t let the abuse tradition in Soccer. Ladies must be protected.”

FIFA mentioned its Afghan investigation had primarily based its findings on complaints lodged by a minimum of 5 girls’s soccer gamers who had accused Mr. Keram of repeated sexual abuse from 2013 to 2018, whereas he served as president of the Afghanistan Soccer Federation.

FIFA first suspended Mr. Keram after the accusations grew to become public in December. That suspension was prolonged this spring whereas investigators for the FIFA ethics committee pursued the case. A legal investigation of Mr. Keram and three different Afghan soccer officers was believed to be nearing completion, Afghan officers have mentioned.

Different claims of abuse or inappropriate conduct have emerged in Canada, Colombia and Ecuador, in addition to in FIFA’s prime management. A vice chairman of the group, Ahmad Ahmad, faces accusations of sexual harassment from a number of girls who labored with him in his function as the top of African soccer’s governing physique.

The accusations in opposition to Mr. Keram have been significantly troubling, portray an image of a menacing determine who held sway over gamers’ careers and lives, threatening them with destroy if they didn’t comply. Younger girls mentioned the 57-year-old official, who has two wives, had a locked room in his workplace, the place he sexually assaulted them, fees they made each in public statements and to Afghan prosecutors.

Ladies who rebuffed his advances have been labeled lesbians and expelled from the workforce, in accordance with eight former gamers who mentioned that it had occurred to them. Those that went public mentioned they confronted intimidation.

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