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Fifa looks into Afghanistan women’s football abuse claims

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Football’s governing body Fifa says it is “looking into” claims that members of the Afghanistan women’s team have suffered sexual and physical abuse at the hands of male employees.

Allegations have been made by several former players and Kelly Lindsey, the American former head coach of the team.

The Afghanistan Football Federation said the allegations were “groundless”.

But Fifa said: “Once the facts are established whatever remedial measures needed will be taken.”

The governing body added that it was “strongly committed to promoting the safety and wellbeing of all individuals involved in football activities, especially potentially vulnerable people requiring specific attention and protection”.

In a statement on its Facebook page, the Afghanistan Football Federation says it “vigorously rejects the accusations”.

“The AFF is proud to have many young, talented female players in its teams and it does its utmost to support and protect them against all kinds of harassments or any kind of abusive behaviour,” it added.

“The AFF has a zero-tolerance policy towards any type of such behaviour.”

Senior figures associated with the Afghanistan women’s team said that abuse took place inside the country, including at the federation’s headquarters, and at a training camp in Jordan last February.

Khalida Popal, a former head of the women’s football department at the AFF, who was forced to flee the country in 2016 and seek asylum in Denmark, has spoken together with the players Shabnam Mobarez and Mina Ahmadi and the head coach, Kelly Lindsey, about the ordeal of players within the country and their frustrations with a system that, they feel, has failed to protect them.

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