Women’s football in Afghanistan takes a tumble, issues chained to other sports as well

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Women’s football in Afghanistan officially started not more than 4 years ago, and their national team was a symbol of a new liberal Afghan. However, issues of sexual abuse amongst others have marred this new symbolic team and the same issue looms over the heads of athletes in various other sports teams of the country.

Reports show a top Afghani sports official admitting to the fact that the women in the football team have been subjected to sexual abuse and that, its not just football. Following the surfacing of the report, Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday called for an investigation into the claims, calling the allegations “shocking” and vowing to act immediately.

The scandal has exploded in the last few days. On Friday, football’s governing body FIFA said it was investigating claims made by women in the national football squad. The Afghan Attorney General’s Office then announced its own investigation too.

“It is shocking to all Afghans. Any kind of misconduct against athletes, male and female, is not acceptable,” Ghani said after a meeting with the country’s attorney general. “I asked the attorney general to conduct a thorough investigation compliant with our legal codes into the issue. Even if mere allegations cause our people to stop sending their sons and daughters to sports, we need to act immediately and comprehensively,” he added.

Hummel, a Danish sportswear company, has pulled sponsorship of the Afghan Football Federation (AFF), which is at the heart of the allegations.

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