Women athletes on the Afghanistan national football team have come out with serious allegations of sexual and physical assault against leaders of the Football Federation of Afghanistan (AFF), an affiliate of FIFA, including its president Keramuudin Karim.

FIFA promised to examine the allegations and suspended the president until investigations are completed. The Afghan government has also said they will investigate the allegations. Sponsor companies like Hummel withdrew support for the team, pointing to the allegations as a breach of contract by the leadership of AFF.

The allegations come as Afghan women’s participation in sports is on the rise. Since the fall of the Taliban a decade and a half ago, women’s participation in sports like cycling, bowling, cricket, football, taekwondo, and boxing have come a long way, with women forming their own sports clubs and teams.

Though women continue to call attention to the lack of facilities, resources, and government support for women’s athletics, some teams are garnering support from western donors. The United States has been one of the leading supporters of women’s engagement in sports.

In August, Hanifa Yousufi made history by becoming the first woman to summit Mt. Noshaq, Afghanistan’s tallest peak. Yousoufi founded the organization Ascend Athletics, a nonprofit that trains women for 2 years in leadership and physical training.

Media Resources: Tolo News 12/3/18, 12/13/18; The Guardian 11/30/18; Feminist News 10/11/18

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