Afghanistan Women’s Football sexual abuse scandal ignites campaign to stop exploitation of females

Afghanistan Women’s Football sexual abuse scandal ignites campaign to stop exploitation of females

The #FearlessFootball campaign launched yesterday in response to the crisis in Women’s Football across the globe.

The global campaign set up by the international social enterprise AFDP Global urges football governing bodies to eliminate the mistreatment of women and girls involved in the game.

A petition to declare a set of principles in order to create a safe environment, free from harassment, coercion or abuse has already been signed by current and former players including Eni Aluko, Kelly Smith, Robbie Fowler and UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin.

The recent sexual abuse scandal within the Afghanistan Football governing body sparked the urgent need for a reform, inclusive of better governance structures, clear safeguarding measures, educational programmes, an accessible and responsive whistleblowing system and appropriate sanctions for those who break the rules.

Last month the former President of the Afghanistan Football Federation, Keramuddin Karim was given a lifetime ban from football related activities following the sexual abuse allegations from female players. The FIFA investigation found he was "guilty of having abused his position and sexually abused various female players, in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics." Karim was also fined 1 million Swiss francs but has not faced any criminal charges.

Furthermore, this year players from the Colombian Women’s football team also spoke out on sexual abuse against female players and staff, including girls under the age of 18. These issues have involved athletes to cry out for change and thus putting themselves at risk of losing the their careers and jeopardising their safety.

The abuse of women and girls in football is an international problem where the current system is putting women and girls at serious risk. The campaign calls for leaders in football to act quickly and respond by prioritising the safety and wellbeing of athletes.

To access and sign the petition visit here. #FearlessFootball