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Prince Ali urges FIFA to act on Afghanistan abuse investigation

Paris (AFP) – Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, who has twice stood for the FIFA presidency, on Thursday called on world football’s governing body to take firmer action against Afghanistan’s football chief over allegations of sexual assault on  members of the country’s women’s team.

FIFA this week extended the suspension of Afghan Football Federation (AFF) president Keramuddin Karim by 90 days at the recommendation of the investigating arm of its ethics commission.

“This further extension is an added delay and it is vital that the investigation into the allegations against the president is made an absolute priority,” Prince Ali said.

“Serious sanctions must be taken against the AFF and all its presiding staff members, until the AFF can demonstrate that safeguarding policies and processes are in place,” the Jordanian prince added in a statement.

“All AFF officials who are implicated in the current crisis should not be permitted to stand for the forthcoming election to the AFC Executive Committee or any other FIFA or AFC committee.”

He recommended establishing new policies for Afghan players and referees, setting out “what is appropriate and inappropriate conduct”.

The scandal erupted in December when British newspaper the Guardian reported that one member of the Afghanistan women’s team, Khalida Popal, had collected accounts from former teammates that included sexual violence, death threats and rapes.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said at the time that he was “shocked.” 

Karim has denied the accusations, saying he is the victim of a “conspiracy” that is “without evidence.”

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