Thu, 21 Mar 2019

Afghan authorities have suspended the head of the country's football federation and five other members of the organization over allegations of sexual abuse against the national women's team, officials say.

Jamshid Rasouli, a spokesman for the Attorney General's Office, said on December 9 that the officials were suspended following a recommendation from the team set up to investigate the incident.

Rasouli said the move was intended to allow for a transparent investigation into the allegations.

The move comes days after President Ashraf Ghani ordered a 'thorough investigation' after Britain's Guardian newspaper published a report detailing cases of alleged sexual abuse of Afghan female soccer players.

The paper cited Khalida Popal, a former head of women's soccer in the Afghanistan Football Federation, as saying that the alleged abuses took place inside the federation's headquarters in Afghanistan, as well as at a training camp in Jordan in February.

The federation has said the allegations in the report were 'baseless and untrue' and that it will fully cooperate with the probe.

Football's world governing body FIFA has said it was also looking into the claims.

Meanwhile, the Danish sportswear company Hummel announced it had canceled a sponsorship deal with the team last month.

It said the decision was made after 'allegations of severe mental, physical, and sexual abuse as well as documentation of new contracts stripping female players of basic human rights was presented to the company.'

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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