Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Tuesday called for an investigation into claims of sexual abuse against the national women´s football team, calling the allegations “shocking” and vowing to act immediately.
The president´s call comes days after the Guardian newspaper broke a story about allegations of sexual and physical abuse of members of the women´s team by male officials, including the president of the country´s football federation.
“It is shocking to all Afghans. Any kind of misconduct against athletes, male and female, is not acceptable,” Ghani said after meeting with the country´s attorney general.
“I ask Mr Attorney General to conduct a thorough investigation compliant with our legal codes into the issue,” he added.
The Guardian cited what it described as senior figures associated with the women´s team who said the abuse had taken place in Afghanistan, including at the Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF) headquarters, and at a training camp in Jordan last February.
The story quoted former captain Khalida Popal — who fled the country after receiving death threats and has spoken out previously about the discrimination women face in Afghanistan — as saying male officials were “coercing” female players.
AFF secretary general Sayed Alireza Aqazada batted away the allegations over the weekend, saying the claims were untrue.