KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: FIFA has expressed its concern about the arrest and detention in Bangladesh of female council member Mahfuza Akhter Kiron.

Mahfuza, also  member of the executive committee of the Asian Football Confederation, was arrested at the weekend for allegedly defaming the country’s prime minister.

On a television talk show she said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had been neglecting football in favour of cricket. She was then denounced for defamation Abul Hasan Chowdhury, a former foreign affairs minister.

Chowdury claimed her comments about the prime minister had embarrassed the nation and she was subsequently detained. She has now been granted bail on a second application after being held in jail over the weekend.

A FIFA spokesman said: “FIFA is monitoring this matter with concern and working closely with the AFC.

“We have requested further details about the situation of Ms Mahfuza Akhter and are currently awaiting information from the Bangladesh Football Federation. Updates will follow in due course.”

Mahfuza, who defeated Australia’s Moya Dodd to win election on behalf of the Asian Football Confederation in 2017, risks a jail term of up to two years in found guilty.

Sheikh Hasina is the longest serving prime minister in Bangladeshi history after securing a third consecutive term in office last December.