Afghanistan

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FIFA: Afghanistan coach’s Infantino criticism ‘unjustified’

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LYON, France (AP) FIFA has denounced “ill-informed and unjustified” criticism of its president, Gianni Infantino, after the coach of the Afghanistan women’s national team called him “disgusting” over the handling of sexual abuse investigations.

At a news conference in Lyon ahead of the Women’s World Cup final, coach Kelly Lindsey demanded Infantino’s departure from FIFA for allegedly not being rigorous enough in pursuing officials in the Afghanistan soccer federation.

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FIFA has so far only sanctioned Keramuudin Karim, who was banned for life from soccer last month for repeated sexual abuse of female players while president of the Afghanistan Football Federation.

But in a statement to The Associated Press, FIFA says it is “carefully looking into allegations levelled against additional persons, and will not hesitate to take appropriate measures and impose sanctions if justified.”

FIFA added that Lindsey “is well aware of these efforts and the support that FIFA has provided and we are surprised and disappointed at her criticism, which we consider to be both ill-informed and unjustified.”

The United States plays the Netherlands in Sunday’s final.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

FIFA bans Afghan official for life for sexual abuse

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has banned the former head of soccer in Afghanistan from the sport for life for sexually abusing female players.

Keramuudin Karim, who was president of the Afghanistan Football Federation, was also fined 1 million Swiss francs ($1 million).

The verdict came on Saturday after a meeting of the adjudicatory chamber of the ethics committee.

FIFA says the “investigation into Mr. Karim concerned the complaints lodged by at least five Afghani female football players, accusing him of repeated sexual abuse in the period 2013-2018, abusing his function as President of the AFF.”

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

FIFA extends Afghan official’s ban during player abuse case

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ZURICH (AP) Under investigation by FIFA for allegedly abusing female players, Afghanistan soccer federation president Keramuudin Karim will remain suspended from soccer for 90 more days.

FIFA says it has approved a request by investigators to extend Karim’s interim ban, which has already lasted 90 days.

FIFA says “Karim will continue to be banned from all football-related activities at both national and international level.”

Last year, Afghan women’s national team players accused their federation president of sexual and physical abuse.

FIFA had earlier been alerted to reports of abuse at federation headquarters in Kabul and a training camp in Jordan.

Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani also ordered an investigation.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Sportswear brand unveils Afghanistan women’s uni with built-in hijab

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Sportswear brand Hummel has released a new Afghanistan kit, with a women’s design that comes with near head-to-toe covering.

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That includes the hijab, a veil that covers the head and chest and is widely associated with the Muslim faith’s article that a woman be covered in the presence of adult males outside their family.

From CNN.com:

Revealed to the public on International Women’s Day, the new red kit includes an integrated base layer which allows women to be covered from head to toe when they take to the pitch.

PHOTO: Heartwarming Messi sends Afghan child signed shirt

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*Wipes away tears*

After a photo showing a young Afghan child wearing a plastic blue and white grocery bag with “Messi 10” written on the back of it went viral, the Barcelona and Argentina superstar has sent the youngster the real thing.

[ VIDEO: Messi stars in new ad ]

Five-year-old Murtaza Ahmadi hails from the Jaghori District in the eastern Ghazni province of Afghanistan and the photos showing him proudly wearing his homemade Messi jersey touched the hearts of millions.

On Thursday a photo (see below) from UNICEF Afghanistan was Tweeted out showing Ahmadi wearing the signed jersey and he said: “I love Messi and my shirt says Messi loves me.”

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Emotions.

Fair play, Lionel. Looks like you have yet another fan for life.