The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF) President Keramuudin Karim’s appeal against a life ban imposed by FIFA for sexually abusing female players.
The CAS said it had thrown out the appeal from Karim after a panel ruled he was deserving of a lifetime ban and a CHF1,000,000 (£849,000/$1.1 million/€934,000) fine given to the disgraced official by the FIFA Ethics Committee in June 2019.
In a statement, the panel said Karim had “violated basic human rights and damaged the mental and physical dignity and integrity of young female players” and had “severely damaged” the players’ lives with his “appalling acts”.
During the CAS hearing, several players of the Afghanistan women’s national team testified against Karim and stated they had been sexually and physically abused by the former AFF President.
An investigation had been launched following the complaints from at least five Afghan female footballers, who accused Karim of repeated sexual abuse between 2013 and 2018.
Former head of the women’s department at the AFF, Khalida Popal, lifted the lid on allegations in an interview with The Guardian newspaper in November 2018.
Popal claimed that in the course of an investigation she carried out into the allegations, she heard claims of physical abuse, sexual abuse, death threats and rape.
Mohammad Hanif Sediqi Rustam, a former assistant of Karim, was banned for five years last December for failing to report complaints of sexual abuse.
Former AFF general secretary Sayed Aghazada had received a five-year ban the previous October after he was also found to have failed to report the sexual abuse of Afghani footballers.
“In a case of unprecedented gravity, CAS has confirmed the importance of FIFA’s zero tolerance policy against physical, mental and sexual abuses at all levels of football, as well as the adequacy of the strongest sanctions in such cases,” FIFA said in response to the CAS verdict.
“Finally, FIFA commends the bravery of those victims who, under dreadful personal circumstances in their home country, have come forward and allowed for justice to be served.
“We trust that their example will encourage other victims and survivors of such terrible circumstances to report them in the future, knowing that they can count on FIFA’s support at all times.