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FIFA bans Afghan football official for failure to act on sexual abuse scandal

FIFA has banned an Afghan football official from all football-related activity for five years for failing to act over the country’s sexual abuse scandal.

World football’s governing body said Sayed Aghazada, the former general secretary of the Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF), “was aware of this abuse and had the duty to report and prevent it.”

Aghazada was the AFF general secretary during the tenure of former president Keramuudin Karim, who earlier this year was given a lifetime ban by FIFA following allegations he sexually abused female players on the Afghanistan national team.

“This is an ongoing legal process and I cannot comment,” Aghazada told CNN.

Karim was “guilty of having abused his position and sexually abused various female players,” according to FIFA. It also fined him 1 million Swiss francs ($1 million).

Aghazada is an executive committee member of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) — the region’s governing body — having only been elected to a four-year term in April.

The organization “will wait until the decision is final and binding” before making a decision on his position, it said in a statement.

READ: FIFA investigates Afghan football body over women’s team abuse claims

READ: FIFA bans ex-Afghanistan Football Federation president for life over abuse allegations

In December, former Afghan player Khalida Popal told CNN some of the abuse took 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 said 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.

Other players were not willing to speak to the media publicly, fearing for their safety and that of their families, Popal said.

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.”

FIFA has also fined Aghazada 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,000) and says it is “still looking into” allegations made against other individuals related to the case.

CNN has reached out to the AFC for comment but it wasn’t immediately available to give a response.

Article Topic Follows: Sports

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