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Afghanistan Soccer Head Banned For Life For Sexually Abusing Women's National Team Players

Photo: Jan M. Olsen (AP)

FIFA’s ethics committee has found Keramuudin Karim, former President of the Afghanistan Football Federation, guilty of sexually and physically abusing multiple members of the women’s national team. Karim is now banned for life from all international and national soccer activities, and was fined the equivalent of roughly $1 million USD.

According to FIFA’s statement, Keramuudin is guilty of abusing five players from 2013–2018. In December, The Guardian first reported the details:

One said Karim put a gun to her head after he punched her in the face and sexually assaulted her in a hidden bedroom accessed from his office, threatening to shoot her and her family if she spoke to the media.

Another claimed Karim threatened, in front of her teammates at training, to cut out her tongue after she ran off when being sexually assaulted, and then attempted to remove her clothes on another occasion.

A third player alleged that Karim tried to kiss her neck and lips and that after she ran from the room she was dropped from the national squad and accused of being a lesbian. One of the other players also claims Karim spread a rumour that she was a lesbian.

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The Guardian had previously reported on a culture of abuse in Afghan soccer, with multiple male AFF officials accused of harassing and assaulting female players and Karim accused of retaliating against players who threatened to report their abuse. After that report, but before the allegations specifically against Karim were made public, FIFA had banned Karim for 90 days. Investigations into the other accused AFF officials are ongoing, both within FIFA and the Afghanistan Attorney General’s Office.

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