Afghan chief denies abusing women

KABUL • Afghanistan's football boss Keramuddin Karim on Monday rejected allegations he sexually and physically abused members of the women's national team, suggesting that his accusers may have invented the claims to help their applications for asylum in Europe.

Karim has been accused of punching, raping and threatening female players, including holding a gun to one's head, in allegations first reported by Britain's The Guardian newspaper in November.

An investigation into the claims is ongoing but, in an interview with AFP, he was confident that his name would be cleared.

"I strongly deny these allegations," said Karim, who has been suspended from his position as president of the Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF) pending the outcome of the investigation.

"This is a conspiracy. There has been no evidence or proof provided, only a number of unidentified voices, anonymous identities, have made the allegations."

He said his accusers might be using the serious allegations to "seek asylum in Europe", or they might be people who are "conspiring to defame us, hurt us in the federation".

"They are inside and outside the country plotting against us," Karim said, refusing to name the people he was referring to.

He also told AFP he was cooperating with investigators from Afghanistan's Attorney-General's Office, which last Friday slapped a flight ban on him and four other federation officials after suspending them from their positions.

World governing body Fifa has also suspended Karim for 90 days.

He added: "I personally am not aware of such things taking place.

"As a father and a husband, I have been affected (by the claims), it has been painful."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2019, with the headline 'Afghan chief denies abusing women'. Print Edition | Subscribe