The former captain of the Afghani women’s national team has claimed the suspended president of the country’s football federation has a secret bedroom in his office for raping underage girls.
Picture Credits: Golders/@khalida_popal & Goldersfirstname.lastname@example.org_khalida_popal
Female footballer Khalida Popal, who fled Afghanistan and now lives as a refugee in Denmark, made the comments in an interview with Spanish newspaper El Mundo.
Popal has made previous allegations of sexual against the former president of the Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF), Keramuddin Keram, and has now gone even further after he was suspended by FIFA.
She said: “I was one of the informants, even after I left my country, I was still involved in the development of the Afghanistan women’s national team. I was the director of programmes. We were witnesses to an incident in our team. Some of the representatives from the federation started to abuse our players. We complained, we dug deeper. I started my own investigation.
“I found that the person committing the violence was the president of the AFF. He has a secret bedroom in his office where he puts the girls. And he rapes them there and later lets them go. There were several girls. They came with dreams, they felt they had made it. Girls from normal families, and that man was prone like a hunter, he dedicated himself to hunting.”
Keram was suspended in December but the New York Times report the investigation against him will not be concluded in under a year.
The Guardian previously reported five other members of the AFF are also involved in the scandal and have had their salaries suspended as Afghani prosecutors investigate the case.
When asked if the alleged rapes were “accepted”, Popal said: “That’s right. Those who were raped were underage. Girls who were 14 and 15 years old. Women in Afghanistan have to fight against a whole society. They cannot go home and say what happened because they will be accused by their own families. They will already have been told not to go and play football, they are completely alone.”
Keram has been suspended but has not been removed from his role as President of the AFF.
Popal says the Afghani government cannot intervene because “if they do FIFA disqualifies the football federation”. She says the AFF was “built so that nobody can raise their voice”.
She says Keram targeted “the shyer girls, the younger girls” for the alleged abuse.
Popal fled Afghanistan in 2011 after she says she received “death threats, letters even direct attacks” for being a woman who “raised her voice” and she passed through a refugee camp in Norway before settling in Denmark.
She described the refugee camp in Norway as “terrible, horrible, the worst memory of my life” but says she “didn’t give up” and ended up in a refugee centre in Denmark where she decided to “change things”.
The investigation into the case is ongoing.