LYON: AFDP Global, the international football social enterprise, has today (Wednesday 03 July 2019) launched its #FearlessFootball campaign to eliminate abuse, harassment and exploitation in women’s football.

The campaign follows the recent sexual and physical abuse crisis that has engulfed women’s football in Afghanistan, which has shown the urgent need to change the culture and governance of women’s football internationally.

An  AFDP statement said:

The #FearlessFootball campaign sends a clear and unequivocal message to all organisations involved in football governance: this treatment of women and girls in football will not be tolerated.

Football’s governing bodies must act immediately to ensure that proper systems are put in place so that women and girls around the world can play football in a safe environment, free from any harassment, coercion or abuse.

The petition sets out a Declaration of Principles calling on football’s governing bodies to: 

  1. Institute safeguarding codes and educational programs

All football governing bodies and their member associations must adopt clear standard safeguarding codes, setting out that the exploitation, harassment, coercive control and sexual abuse of athletes, staff and referees by those in positions of authority over them are prohibited. Governing bodies and member associations must educate the football community as to those codes.

  1. Implement whistleblowing and reporting mechanisms

Women, girls and their advocates must be able to report their concerns without fear of retaliation, through transparent whistleblowing processes that are accessible, independent and responsive. All football governing bodies and their member associations must be mandated to report any suspected incidences of exploitation, harassment, coercive control and sexual abuse to appropriate law enforcement agencies, to FIFA and to other sport governing bodies.

  1. Uphold enforcement policies

All football governing bodies and their member associations that either violate safeguarding codes or fail to uphold these policies must be dealt the most serious sanctions by FIFA, including wholesale financial penalties and lifetime bans for individuals involved.

  1. Provide affected individuals with appropriate support

Athletes, staff, referees and their families, including whistleblowing third parties, must be offered protection from persecution, intimidation and violence. They must be supported with appropriate redress, which may include legal action.

Anyone who believes that women and girls should be able to express themselves through sport, in freedom and without fear, can add their voice to this important campaign by signing the #FearlessFootball petition here.

AFDP Global Founder, HRH Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, said: “This campaign follows AFDP Global’s roundtable event held earlier this year to discuss the continued and serious concerns for the Afghanistan National Women’s Football Team. Since the roundtable, I have continued to be a vocal defender of the affected players and their families.

“The lifetime ban and fine issued by FIFA on 8 June 2019 against the President of the Afghanistan Football Federation is a first step. However, much more needs to be done to address widespread, systemic abuse and harassment in women’s football. Everyone who cares deeply about the integrity and standing of the women’s game needs to work together.

“The era in world football governance which has allowed coaches, staff and officials to misuse their power in the treatment of women and girls must end now. The launch of the #FearlessFootball campaign is a landmark moment for the integrity of the game, as we look forward to a brighter future where every girl and woman can play football in safety and with dignity.”

Kelly Lindsey, Manager of the Afghanistan Women’s National Football Team added, “By signing and sharing the #FearlessFootball petition, we can ensure that these women and girls are no longer ignored. The case in Afghanistan is not an isolated one and highlights profound failings in the integrity of world football governance.

“We need to ensure that the experiences of women and girls in football are listened to at the highest levels. There is power in numbers and, by standing in solidarity with women and girl athletes, we send the strongest possible message that nothing less than equality and dignity will do.”

JF Cecillon, CEO of AFDP Global added, “Our goal is for every football organisation to adopt AFDP Global’s Declaration of Principles. To achieve this, we must apply pressure on every governing body, confederation, league and club.

We have engaged prominent advocates to make the case for urgent change within football’s governing bodies, but we also need strength in numbers. Everyone who opposes violence against women and girls and cares about integrity, decency and gender equality should sign the FearlessFootball petition and share their support for the FearlessFootball campaign on social media.  We need to build a viral movement and to make our voices heard now.”

Read the full Declaration of Principles here:


For more information or to speak to someone:

E. |  T. 020 7284 6956  

Association Football Development Programme – AFDP Global:

AFDP Global is a social enterprise that funds, supports and partners with organisations to unite and transform communities through football.

We offer insight, expertise and management support to develop football projects that tackle social issues, deliver sustainable impact and improve lives in communities in need.

Established in the UK in 2018, AFDP Global operates through two organisations: AFDP Global Community Interest Company (CIC) and the AFDP Global Foundation.

** Petition signatees include:

The #FearlessFootball petition has already been signed by current and former professional players, together with leading figures in human rights and sport.**


  • HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan
  • Eniola Aluko: Football Player – Former England International
  • Yael Averbuch West: Football Player – Former US International
  • Katie Chapman: Football Player – Former England International
  • Emma Hayes MBE: Football Manager – Chelsea Women
  • Kelly Lindsey: Football Manager – Afghanistan Women’s National Football Team
  • Lori Lindsey: Football Player – Former US International
  • Shabnam Mobarez: Football Player, Captain – Afghanistan Women’s National Football Team
  • Kely Nascimento: President – Nascimento Foundation
  • Heather O’Reilly: Football Player – Former US International
  • Khalida Popal: Football Manager & Player – Former Afghanistan International; Founder & Director – Girl Power Organization
  • Rebecca Sauerbrunn: Football Player- US International
  • Kelly Smith: Football Player – Former England International
  • Rachel Yankey OBE: Football Player – Former England International Jonas Baer-Hoffman: Secretary General – FIFPro Europe
  • Jamie Carragher: Football Player – Former England International
  • Aleksander Čeferin: President – UEFA
  • Landon Donovan: Football Player – Former US International
  • Mathieu Flamini: Football Player – Former French International
  • Robbie Fowler: Football Player – Former England International
  • Jürgen Griesbeck: Founder & CEO – streetfootballworld
  • Gérard Houllier: Football Manager; AFDP Global Ambassador
  • Dato Windsor John: General Secretary – AFC
  • Harry Kewell: Football Player – Former Australia International
  • Mike Penrose: Executive Director – UNICEF UK
  • Robert Pires: Football Player – Former French International; AFDP Global Ambassador
  • Louis Saha: Football Player – Former French International
  • Kohzo Tashima: President – Japan Football Association
  • Rob Williams OBE: CEO – War Child
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