ISLAMABAD - The United States has hailed FIFA, soccer's world governing body, for slapping a five-year ban on a former senior official of the Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF) for failing to act on sexual abuse allegations brought by the country's female players.
"Survivors of sexual abuse deserve justice & we look to Afghan authorities to ensure accused officials are held accountable," Alice Wells, acting U.S. assistant secretary for south and central Asia, tweeted Saturday.
FIFA announced a day earlier its ongoing investigation into complaints, lodged by several female Afghan football players, has found Sayed Aghazada, the former AFF general secretary, guilty of breaching the world body's code of ethics.
The complainants accused the former AFF president, Keramuudin Karim, of "repeated" sexual abuse between 2013 and 2018 when Aghazada was the general secretary. The players went public with the allegations last year, prompting FIFA to investigate and ban Karim for life in June. It also imposed a $1 million penalty on the former AFF president.
FIFA said Friday that Aghazada was aware of the abuse and had the duty to report and prevent it. Consequently, he has been banned from all football-related activity at both national and international level for five years. A financial penalty of about $10,000 was also imposed on him.
Aghazada was also serving as a member of the FIFA standing committee and as Asian Football Confederation (AFC) executive committee.