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Afghan official fined, banned for failing to report sexual abuse

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ZURICH (Reuters) – Former Afghan football official Mohammad Hanif Sediqi Rustam has been banned from the sport for five years and fined 10,000 Swiss francs (£7,816.12) after being found guilty by FIFA’s ethics committee of violations relating to the abuse of female players.

Sediqi is the third official to be sanctioned in the case which saw former Afghanistan Football Federation president Keramuudin Karim banned for life in June following complaints lodged by several female Afghan players.

FIFA said its ethics committee had established that Sediqi Rustam, who worked as an assistant to Karim, was “aware of such abuse and had the duty to report and prevent such abuse.”

In failing to do so, Sediqi Rustam breached two articles of the FIFA code of ethics, relating to “duty to report” and “protection of physical and mental integrity”, FIFA said.

The AFF’s former general secretary Sayed Aghazada was given the same penalty as Sediqi Rustam in October, also for failing to prevent or report the abuse which allegedly took place between 2013 and 2018.

Afghanistan is ranked as one of the most dangerous countries for women, and allegations of sexual contact outside marriage can have deadly consequences.

Victims of sexual harassment are often extremely reluctant to come forward for fear that they will be accused of adultery.

The national women’s team was formed in 2010. Some conservative-minded Afghans oppose women playing sports.

(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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