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FIFA Looking Into Claims Of Sexual Abuse Inside Afghan Women's National Team

Former Afghanistan women's football captain Khalida Popal (center) has spoken out previously about the discrimination women players face.

Soccer's world governing body FIFA has confirmed it is looking into claims of sexual and physical abuse inside the Afghan women’s national team.

The Afghan Football Federation (AFF) has denied the allegations, which first appearedin the British daily The Guardian.

In a statement on December 1, FIFA said it took such allegations seriously, adding that it has a "zero tolerance policy" on such matters.

In its report on November 30, The Guardian cited senior figures associated with the Afghan women's national team as saying that abuse took place inside the country, including at the federation's headquarters, and at a training camp in Jordan last February.

It quoted former captain Khalida Popal, who fled the country after receiving death threats and has spoken out previously about the discrimination women face in Afghanistan, as saying male officials had been "coercing" female players.

The paper said FIFA was investigating the matter.

"The story is not true," Sayed Alireza Aqazada, secretary-general of the AFF, told reporters in Kabul on December 1.

"No sexual harassment has been committed against any girl football player," Aqazada stated.

Based on reporting by AFP and The Guardian