ZURICH: One of the most senior members of the Asian Football Confederation has been banned for five years by world governing body FIFA for sexual abuse.
Sayed Aghazada, a former general secretary of the Afghanistan Football Federation, has also been fined by FIFA’s ethics committee.
Aghazada had been a FIFA standing committee member and was elected to the AFC executive committee only in April when it was common knowledge that the ethics investigation was under way.
A statement from FIFA said the ethics investigation into Aghazada had arisen after complaints lodged by several female Afghan football players against former AFF president Keramuudin Karim who had been banned for life in June.
The female players’ complaints related to sexual abuse between 2013 and 2018, at a time when Aghazada was the AFF’s general secretary.
An ethics committee statement added: “In its decision, the adjudicatory chamber ruled that Mr Aghazada was aware of this abuse and had the duty to report and prevent it according to the FIFA Code of Ethic.
“Consequently, the adjudicatory chamber found that Mr Aghazada had breached … the FIFA Code of Ethics and sanctioned him with a ban … for five years. In addition, a fine in the amount of 10,000 Swiss francs (8,009.63 pounds) has been imposed.”
The AFC’s response was non-committal.
It said only: “The Asian Football Confederation has noted the decision of the FIFA Adjudicatory Chamber to suspend Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF) General Secretary and AFC Executive Committee member, Sayed Ali Reza Aghazada, from all football activities for five years for breaches of the FIFA Code of Ethics.
“The AFC will wait until the decision is final and binding. No further comments will be given until then.”
The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has found Mr Sayed Aghazada, a former General Secretary of the Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF), FIFA standing committee member and AFC Executive Committee member, guilty of various violations of the FIFA Code of Ethics.
The investigation into Mr Aghazada concerned the complaints lodged by several Afghani female football players accusing Mr Keramuudin Karim, the former President of the AFF, of repeated sexual abuse between 2013 and 2018, at a time when Mr Aghazada was the AFF’s General Secretary.
In its decision, the adjudicatory chamber ruled that Mr Aghazada was aware of this abuse and had the duty to report and prevent it according to the FIFA Code of Ethics.
Consequently, the adjudicatory chamber found that Mr Aghazada had breached art. 17 (Duty to report) and art. 23 (Protection of physical and mental integrity) of the FIFA Code of Ethics and sanctioned him with a ban from all football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level for five years. In addition, a fine in the amount of CHF 10,000 has been imposed on Mr Aghazada.
The terms of the decision were notified to Mr Aghazada today, the date on which the ban comes into force.
The FIFA Ethics Committee is still looking into the allegations that have been made against other individuals in connection to the same investigation and to their positions as football officials.