i. informed the AFF that the IC, pursuant to Article 59 FCE, had initiated a preliminary investigation into serious allegations of "severe mental, physical, sexual and equal rights-abuse of the female players by male Afghan Football Federation-official" made public by "[Person 1]" (the main sponsor of the AFF women's national team); and
ii. requested the AFF to provide the IC with all relevant information in its possession related to the matter.
"1. Mr Keramuudin Karim (sic) is found guilty of infringement of art. 23 (Protection of physical and mental integrity) and art. 25 (Abuse of position) of the FIFA Code of Ethics.
2. Mr Keramuudin Karim (sic) is hereby banned from taking part in any kind of football-related activity at national and international level (administrative, sports or any other) for life as of notification of the present decision, in accordance with Article 7 lit. j) of the FIFA Code of Ethics in conjunction with Article 22 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.
3. Mr Keramuudin Karim (sic) shall pay a fine in the amount of CHF 1,000,000 within 30 days of notification of the present decision. (...)
4. Mr Keramuudin Karim (sic) shall pay costs of these proceedings in the amount of CHF 1,000 within 30 days of notification of the present decision, which shall be paid according to the modalities stipulated under point 23 above.
5. Mr Keramuudin Karim (sic) shall bear his own legal costs and other costs incurred in connection with the present proceedings. (...)".
i. to hear its witnesses anonymously;
ii. to consider their witnesses’ statements as evidence in chief, so that the witnesses would only be subject to cross-examination by the Appellant and to questions from the Panel, in order to "avoid further traumatization ... by making them re-live the details of what can only be qualified as a horrendous experience ...";
iii. to order the Appellant to provide prior to the hearing the questions he intended to ask the Respondent’s witnesses during cross-examination, in order to ensure that the questions were limited to factual issues and not aimed at identifying the protected witnesses.
i. be in Switzerland for their testimony;
ii. stay in a location chosen by the Respondent in Switzerland (other than the hearing’s location) to be notified to the CAS Court Office (which would give this information to the Panel only);
iii. have with them their respective passports;
iv. be accompanied during their respective depositions by a CAS counsel, who would identify them and ensure that their declarations were made alone and in a proper way (i.e., that nobody in the room influence them or give them directions);
v. be accompanied if necessary during their respective depositions by an independent and impartial interpreter;
vi. not be accompanied in the protected witnesses hearing room by anyone else apart from a CAS-Counsel, the above-mentioned interpreter and, if necessary a technical assistant; and
vii. use a voice scrambler when testifying.
"The panel had already limited the right to question the witnesses in a far-reaching manner with a motivation that didn't not (sic) comply with the right to a fair trial ex article 6 EVRM. Appellant at this moment has to accept those limitations but will not accept further limitations of his rights to a fair trial. Appellant already has to put his faith in the sound judgement and the power of the panel and the cooperation of the respondent to check the whole background of the witnesses as asked on his behalf. Not only the current name of the witnesses but also their identity in Afghanistan and their position as a player in the AFF. With all respect for the panel and bearing in mind the important and principal task that lies before the panel appellant will not supply any written questions beforehand and will not accept further limitations on his right ex 6 EVRM to challenge the statements of the witnesses."
i. to clarify the role of his brother at the hearing;
ii. to specify the circumstances on which his proposed witnesses were expected to testify; and
iii. to provide the Panel only with a list of questions he intended to ask the Respondent’s witnesses (hereinafter the "List of Questions to the Respondent’s Witnesses"). In this regard, the Panel assured the Appellant that he would be able to ask additional questions at the hearing, provided that they would not be translated/posed to the witnesses until the Panel could confirm that they were not aimed at identifying the witnesses or might have the effect of so doing.
"As already stated in the letter of 2 December the female players will testify about the relationship between the team and mr Karim in general and will rebuff the statement of the respondent that mr Karim had a scheme of luring female players to his office or a secret room, offering them money etc. They will state that in the past colleague players left the team and left Afghanistan by human traffic[k]ers to Greece, Turk[e]y and India to get a better life and that a player never fled Afghanistan because of threats by mr Karim. They will furthermore testify about the intern relationship within the team, the quest of mrs [Redacted] and its background and the fact that no one has ever heard anything about abuse within the AFF. They furthermore are able to testify about the allegations by respondent and the attorney general about the training camp in Jordan.
Mr Rostam was the personal secretary of mr Karim for year and will testify about the handling of the case by the attorney general and the police in Afghanistan.
Mr [Person 7] was the team manager and mr [Person 14] was responsible for the goalkeepers during the training camp in Jordan and they will testify about the general organization of the team within the aff, their and the relation between the players and mr Karim. They will also testify about the handling of the case by the attorney general.
Mr Karim wants to take his brother with him because mr Karim doesn't speak any English. "
i. his brother was authorized by the Panel to attend the hearing, subject to a clarification about whether he would be acting as an interpreter for the Appellant’s personal benefit only;
ii. the summary of the expected depositions of the Appellant’s witnesses was admitted by the Panel to the file and that, therefore, they would be allowed to render their depositions during the hearing;
iii. he was again invited to submit to the Panel the List of Questions to the Respondent’ s Witnesses by 10 January 2020, re-assuring him that the Panel would not disclose it to the Respondent.
i. the Appellant’s witnesses had been waiting in Islamabad, Pakistan since midJanuary for their Swiss visa applications to be processed and that they were stuck there until they could get their passports back, which would be at the earliest on 13 February 2020;
ii. due to the seriousness of the accusations against him and the fine of CHF 1,000,000, the Appellant clearly wanted to attend, present and defend his case in person and was "doing everything within his limited powers to realize that right ".
" already confronted by the panel with an unprecedented and unmotivated decision that the accusing witnesses are granted the right to absolute anonymity which already constitutes a breach of his right to a fair trial. To this situation must now be added that his right to attend the hearing and his right to proper legal aid in this case is frustrated by again a decision without factual arguments only that activities and costs were made by FIFA and the CAS. It must be obvious that I cannot properly represent and replace my client in a case where I have to attend a hearing in Lausanne to cross examine anonymous witnesses on behalf of my client while he resides in Tajikistan and I have to present his witnesses who are residing in Islamabad. This all through a[n] internet connection that especially in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan is not reliable. It is common knowledge that a reliable connection is only possible in the early hours. This ruling would be acceptable if client had a proper trial and hearing in first instance, if he could be blamed for stalling the procedure or that he clearly wants to give up his right to attend his trial. But that is not the case. Appellant started with the application immediately after the invitation letters were sen[t], he comes from country torn by war violence, travelled to another country with its own visa requirements and in this country has to apply for a second visa to come to Switzerland. That also counts for the witnesses for which he is paying up to now all the costs for coming to Lausanne. It is unknown what activity and what costs on the part of Fifa and CAS justify the denial of the right of appellant to attend the hearing in person in Lausanne and to present his witnesses. It is clear that they cannot be compared to the activities and costs appellant has made and that will now be useless. With all respect but as usual FIFA stated without any specification that it had problems to gather the witnesses to come to Lausanne. It is clear that all of them live in Europe in a country with at least a connection with Ryanair or Easyflight and the cost of a flight of € 200,00. Also the members of the panel live in Europe. FIFA was invited already to specify the stated stress on the side of the witnesses but again failed to do so. The Panel cannot seriously state that these unspecified costs and activities justify denial of a proper court date and a denial of the ambition and the fundamental right of appellant to attend his trial in person and his willingness to present his witnesses to testify in person. For me it is clear that I cannot represent and replace my client during the planned court hearing and to safeguard his rights to a fair trial. With all due respect coming to Lausanne in this situation would mean that I will not properly represent my client anymore but I will only act as an argument that client received a fair trial. I wil[l] and cannot cooperate with that."
- For the Appellant : Mr I.P. Sigmond (Counsel for Appellant) who appeared by Skype on Day 1 of the hearing and in person on Day 2;
- For the Respondent : Mr Miguel Liétard Fernández-Palacios, FIFA Director of Litigation, and Ms Marta Ruiz-Ayúcar (Senior Legal Counsel) who appeared in person on both hearing days. Mr Jaime Cambreleng Contreras, FIFA Head of Litigation, attended the hearing in person on Day 2.
- the witnesses were all in a secret location in Switzerland accompanied by (i) a CAS counsel entrusted by the Panel to ensure that their testimony would be given directly and without any undue interference from third parties, and (ii) a psychologist in case of need;
- a FIFA representative (Mr Jaime Cambreleng Contreras) and a lawyer appointed by the witnesses to defend their rights were also present at that secret location, but not in the testimony room;
- only the witnesses would be entitled to answer questions and only FIFA’s counsel in the CAS hearing room would be entitled to object to the questions posed by the Appellant;
- the witnesses would testify using a voice scrambler to protect their identity;
- the Panel had reviewed the List of Questions to the Respondent’s Witnesses and determined that some of the questions had the effect of identifying the witnesses. Therefore, to the extent possible, the questions would have to be modified or, otherwise, disallowed altogether; and
- the questions posed to the witnesses should be related to the facts and should not be calculated, even if unintentionally, to identify the witnesses.
i. explained that the day before he had attempted to connect with the Appellant and his witnesses via phone and Internet, but that it was practically impossible to do so;
ii. argued that if no adjournment was granted and the Appellant and his witnesses were unable to testify on Day 2 of the hearing due to the technical issues, the Appellant’s right to be heard under Article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights (the "ECHR") would be violated.
i. the Appellant had not submitted any evidence that he had applied for a visa to Switzerland or provided any guarantees that he could obtain such a visa. Considering that the Appellant had an arrest warrant pending on him, the Respondent did not see how he could obtain a visa to Switzerland from any country; and
ii. the hearing had been set since 27 November 2019 with ample time for the Appellant to apply for a visa and try to organize his physical presence at the hearing, or to find a solution for him to participate via phone or videoconference.
i. the visa applications (to Switzerland or to another country, in which the Internet or phone connections could be of better quality) could have been filed earlier in order to have the decision of the immigration authorities earlier with more time to make alternative plans; and
ii. the Appellant never applied for a visa to Switzerland (because he could not even obtain a visa to another country from which to apply for a Swiss visa).
"Mr karim respectfully requests that the CAS sets aside the decision passed by the FIFA ethics committee where:
a. Mr Karim was found guilty of infringement if [sic] art 23 of the FIFA Code of Ethics.
b. Was banned from taking parting in any kind of football related activity etc.
c. Has to pay a fine of chf 1.000,000,00.
d. Has to pay the costs of the proceedings
e. Had to bear his onw [sic] legal and other costs
Mr karim wants the decissions [sic] to be annulled and that FIFA has to pay for the costs of this procedure" .
a. FIFA failed to provide sufficient evidence to meet its burden of proving that the Appellant sexually harassed, abused and raped players of the AFF women’s national team. In particular:
i. FIFA failed to provide any of the specific dates on which the alleged offenses supposedly occurred. The timeline of the alleged incidents is necessary for the Appellant to be able to properly counter the accusations and provide alibis;
ii. FIFA failed to provide any proof that the "secret room" in the old AFF headquarters exists (e.g., a picture or a video). In this respect, FIFA failed to search the building for the "secret room" and, instead, it merely relied on (i) an excerpt of the testimony of an unidentified AFF official, without presenting the full transcript of his testimony or calling him as a witness in the FIFA Ethics Committee proceeding or before CAS, and (ii) the Accusation Letter, which only contained excerpts of the players’ witness statements prepared by Ms [Redacted] and which was issued without the Appellant having the opportunity to question the witnesses or to study the file on which the Accusation Letter was based (a file of more than 600 pages of unknown content sent by the President of Afghanistan to the AGO). The evidence before the Panel actually proves that no "secret room" existed. First, no such room was found in the search of the old AFF headquarters conducted on 3 December 2018 by the Afghanistan police and by the Tolonews reporter. Second, it is evident - from the hand-drawing submitted by the Appellant in the present arbitration, as well as the screenshot of a video taken during the Tolonews reporter’s search - that it was impossible to have a "secret room" adjacent to the Appellant’s office, given the layout of that office;
iii. FIFA has merely provided excerpts of the alleged victims’ witness statements and not the entire transcript;
iv. FIFA’s witnesses are not reliable or credible because:
- Their declarations are affected by important inaccuracies. First, the alleged victims refer to a "secret room" in the old AFF headquarters. However, such a room did not exist and, in any case, it could not have been the location of any alleged sexual abuses, since the AFF moved out of that building in 2015 and none of the alleged victims claims that the alleged abuses occurred before that move. Second, the alleged victims refer to fingerprint locks. It is true that the new AFF headquarters has such locks on several doors. However, they are placed on the outside of the doors only, meaning that the doors can always be opened from the inside by turning the standard door handle. Third, the alleged victims claim that the Appellant withheld player salaries, fired players and labelled them as lesbians for refusing his alleged sexual advances. However, the Appellant did not have any power in his capacity as the AFF President in relation to the players’ salaries or their positions on the national team. There is also no proof that the Appellant ever labelled any of alleged victims as lesbians. In fact, the alleged victims have not indicated how, when and in front of whom they were labelled as lesbians by the Appellant and, moreover, did not explain how being labelled a lesbian represents a social stigma in Afghanistan. What really happened was that, during a training camp in Jordan in February 2018, female players did not respect traditional clothing customs, which resulted in a diplomatic disaster that prompted the Appellant to suspend Messrs [Person 7] and [Person 14] and to require the players to sign a contract under which they agreed to respect the aforementioned customs. The players who did not sign the contract were dismissed from the women’s national team, such as Ms [Redacted] and Ms [Person 20]; they were not, as FIFA suggests, branded as lesbians and dismissed for that reason.
- Their depositions present many important inconsistencies if compared to their witness statements to the FIFA Ethics Committee and the Guardian.
- Their depositions lack sufficient detail (e.g., the dates on which the alleged offenses were committed, what type of gun the Appellant allegedly pointed at Player C’s head, etc.).
- Their depositions are contradicted by the fact that (i) the Appellant’s health was poor and he did not have the sexual energy or physical power to attack or rape a fit and trained football player, and (ii) he always respected the players as if they were his own daughters.
v. The Guardian articles are unreliable because the reporters never spoke directly with the players and instead relied solely on written statements prepared by Ms [Redacted], and the Appellant did not have the opportunity to defend himself before they were published. Moreover, the articles cannot be considered as supporting evidence and do not make the alleged victims’ depositions before the FIFA Ethics Committee or the CAS any more trustworthy, given that they are simply a collection of the same written statements made anonymously to a reporter;
vi. The indictment against the Appellant in Afghanistan cannot be used as evidence that the accused committed the alleged offenses; only a criminal conviction can be used for that purpose;
vii. The fact that the alleged victims obtained asylum is irrelevant to the issue whether the Appellant committed the alleged offences;
b. The Panel must apply a strict fact-finding procedure and focus its attention on whether or not FIFA satisfied its burden of proof. The Panel cannot, as the FIFA Ethics Committee did, allow "emotions" or "feelings" to interfere with that process, or by-pass the rule of law because of any bias against the accused or any need felt to take a tough stance against the abuse of women. Nor can the Panel rely on hearsay, or "tunnel vision".
c. Ms [Redacted] is the mastermind behind the case against the Appellant. In 2017 new elections were held for the AFF Presidency and Mr [Person 21], backed by the President of Afghanistan (Mr [Person 22]), ran for that position. Mr [Redacted] ultimately lost the election to the Appellant, after which Mr [Redacted] tried in vain to "seize control with his private armed forces". Since then, Mr [Redacted] has mounted a smear campaign to eliminate him from office. Ms [Redacted], a relative of Mr [Redacted], had led said campaign, feeding the press, the main sponsor of AFF ([Person 1]), and FIFA, with false statements about the Appellant. Ms [Redacted] searched out players forcibly demanding that they accuse the Appellant of having sexually harassed or assaulted them, supplied the dossier used by the AGO to indict the Appellant in Afghanistan and by the FIFA Ethics Committee to charge him with accusations of sexual abuse and rape, prepared the alleged victims’ witness statements and coordinated their stories.
d. From December 2018 until June 2019 Afghanistan state prosecutors conducted an investigation on the Appellant without a lawful indictment and presented its case to the Afghanistan court which concluded that " up to now " there are no grounds for further prosecution.
e. The FIFA Ethics Committee and the CAS have violated the Appellant’s right to be heard and to a fair trial under Article 6(1) ECHR, in particular by allowing the witnesses to testify anonymously and for convicting the Appellant on the sole basis of those declarations.
"...CAS to issue an award on the merits:
(a) rejecting the reliefs sought by the Appellant;
(b) confirming the Appealed Decision;
(c) ordering the Appellant to bear the full costs of these arbitration proceedings; and
(d) ordering the Appellant to make a contribution to FIFA's legal costs".
a. The Appellant sexually harassed, abused and raped players of the AFF women’s national team between the years of 2013 and 2018 and enabled other AFF officials to commit sexual misconducts by turning a blind eye on them (in particular on sexual misconducts by Messrs [Person 7] and [Person 14] during a training camp in Jordan in February 2018). The Appellant had a modus operandi of finding a reason to summon the players to his AFF office (e.g. , to hand delivery a letter, to pay salary which he had purposely withheld, etc.), and then, once they were there, to touch them inappropriately, and, as the case might be, kiss them without consent, try to undress them, to force himself upon them, and to sexually abuse them. On one occasion (Player C), the Appellant even knocked the player unconscious and raped her as she bled from her injury. If the players rejected his sexual advances, the Appellant would threaten them (the most shocking example of which was Player C, at whom the Appellant pointed a gun and threatened to blow her head off), shunned them from the AFF national team, and labelled them (by spreading rumours) as "lesbians", which is a social stigma in Afghanistan. The Appellant would also make threats to keep the players quiet about his sexual attacks.
b. The incidents occurred in one of two places: (i) in the old AFF building in a "secret room" between the Appellant’s office and the garage (this secret room could be accessed from the Appellant’s office through a secret sliding door or from the garage through a normal door), and (ii) an office on the upper floor of the new AFF building (this was not a secret room; rather, it was a room for hosting guests which was only accessible with fingerprint authorization).
c. The victims could not come forward in their country because (i) they would be stigmatized by their families and friends, and (ii) the Appellant was a powerful man in Afghanistan who could cause harm to the victims and their loved ones: he was the Chief of Staff in the Ministry of Defence from 2002 to 2004 and the Governor of the Panjshir Province until November 2013, a region whose inhabitants have notoriously fought in the wars against the Soviet Union in the 1980s and the Taliban forces in the early 2000s.
d. The resulting pressure, the unsustainable situation of having been sexually victimized by the Appellant and branded as "lesbians", and the fear of retribution from one of the most powerful men in Afghanistan led at least five victims to flee their country and seek asylum, which they managed to obtain despite the difficulty in being given such protection.
e. The depositions in this case only paint a small - yet clear - picture of the Appellant’s actions, and while it is impossible to know the full extent of the Appellant actions, the evidence on file is more than sufficient to prove the existence of at least 5 instances of sexual misconduct (Players A, B, C, D, and F), including two rapes (Player C and [Person 9]), as well as the more widespread culture of abuse of women and children at the AFF.
f. The Appellant’s conduct is proven by the evidence submitted before the FIFA Ethics Committee, which included: (i) the interviews with several victims (players A, B, C, D, and E) conducted by the IC, (ii) an interview with an AFF official who confirmed the existence of a secret room and that several girls had been raped by the Appellant, (iii) the Afghan public authorities’ investigation into a suspension of the Appellant, (iv) the reaction of the international and local institutions and their efforts and success in finding the victims asylum, (v) the fact that [Person 1], one of the main sponsors of the AFF, cancelled a sponsorship agreement it had with the federation, and (v) a number of published media articles (more specifically, from the Guardian) which contained statements of the victims describing the Appellant’s threats, sexual harassment and attacks (including rape).
g. The Appellant’s conduct is also proven by (i) the witness statements and depositions to the CAS of Players A, B, C, D and F, and (ii) an Accusation Letter which was not available to FIFA during the FIFA Ethics Committee proceeding. The Accusation Letter contains excerpts of depositions:
- of Players A, B, C, and D, Witness I, a victim nicknamed "[Person 10]", and AFF officials (Mr [Redacted], as well as individuals nicknamed "Rangin", "Quaimuddin" and "Khodaidad"), confirming the sexual abuses perpetrated by the Appellant;
- of Mr [Redacted], as well as several AFF officials and employees (including [Person 23], [Person 24], [Person 5], [Person 25], [Person 26], [Person 3], [Person 27], and [Person 28]) and cleaners (Najbullah and [Person 29], [Person 30]), confirming the existence of the "secret room" and that as soon as news broke out about the Appellant’s abuses, said room was dismantled and filled with carton boxes with footballs to appear as a storage room;
- of Ms [Redacted] and Witnesses G and H, confirming that the Appellant was aware of and actively enabled other AFF officials to sexually abuse players.
h. Even though the Accusation Letter does not contain witness statements but rather only a summaries of depositions, the Panel should give it significant evidentiary weight, as it comes from a separate investigation that led to the issuance of an arrest warrant against the Appellant.
i. The Appellant’s conduct is a clear violation of Articles 23 and 25 FCE and warrants the sanction of a life ban and fine of CHF 1 million.
j. The Appellant bases his appeal on unfounded procedural complaints (such as the anonymity of the victims who testified against him). However, the Appellant’s right to be heard and to a fair trial have been fully respected.
k. The Appellant also bases his appeal on the alleged wrong evaluation of the evidence by the FIFA Ethics Committee. However, it is clear that the FIFA Ethics Committee properly took and evaluated the evidence in accordance with the applicable FIFA regulations. Moreover, the victims’ depositions are now also supported by other players, who have since come forward to the AGO (some anonymously and others - witnesses G, H and I - not), as well as by AFF officials who have confirmed to the AGO that a secret room existed and that it was used by the Appellant to carry out the sexual harassment and abuse of players.
"[a]n appeal against the decision of a federation, association or sports-related body may be filed with CAS if the statutes or regulations of the said body so provide or if the parties have concluded a specific arbitration agreement and if the Appellant has exhausted the legal remedies available to it prior to the appeal, in accordance with the statutes or regulations of that body" .
" In the absence of a time limit set in the statutes or regulations of the federation, association or sports-related body concerned, or in a previous agreement, the time limit for appeal shall be twenty-one days from the receipt of the decision appealed against. The Division President shall not initiate a procedure if the statement of appeal is, on its face, late and shall so notify the person who filed the document".
" The Panel shall decide the dispute according to the applicable regulations and, subsidiarily, to the rules of law chosen by the parties or, in the absence of such a choice, according to the law of the country in which the federation, association or sports-related body which has issued the challenged decision is domiciled or according to the rules of law the Panel deems appropriate. In the latter case, the Panel shall give reasons for its decision" .
i. its witnesses - Players A, B, C, D and F - be heard anonymously in order to protect them and their families from the danger to which they would be exposed if their names were disclosed to the Appellant. In that connection, the Respondent made reference to the threats already received by the victims and to the possible retaliation against them by the Appellant, a powerful man in Afghanistan, as is mentioned in the witness statements signed by the witnesses;
ii. the witnesses’ statements be considered as evidence in chief, so that the witnesses would only be subject to cross-examination by the Appellant and questioning by the Panel. With this request the Respondent sought to avoid that the witnesses relive their traumatic experiences when heard; and
iii. the Appellant be ordered to provide the Panel with the questions he intended to ask the Respondent’s witnesses in writing and prior to the hearing, in order to ensure that the line of questioning would be limited to factual issues and not aimed at identifying the witnesses or having that effect. At the same time, the Respondent offered to provide the Panel with the identities of the witnesses and the unredacted versions of both their witness statements and the Accusation Letter, provided that the Panel would not share them with the Appellant (see supra at paras. 26 and 39).
i. the Respondent failed to submit evidence of any threatening statements or hate messages from the Appellant to the witnesses;
ii. the fact that the witnesses received asylum does not prove that the Appellant ever threatened them; and
iii. the witnesses’ claim that the disclosure of their identities would subject them to a "potential" threat due to the Appellant’s powerful position in the government is not credible, given that all of the witnesses used the same copypasted language on this point in their witness statements.
i. it would essentially be a surrogate for witness statements which, in principle, must be submitted with the Appeal Brief under Article R51 of the CAS Code and thus before the close of the hearing;
ii. in any case, even if the post-hearing video-recorded examinations are considered as more than mere witness statements, i.e. as surrogates for inhearing testimony, the Panel would have no control over the recording process and, in particular, no way of assuring that the videos were taken in "one shot" without editing, which would put into serious question the recordings authenticity. Moreover, the Respondent would not be able to cross-examine the witnesses which would be a violation of its right to be heard and to a fair trial.
i. the Appellant will be able to obtain a visa to Switzerland. The Appellant’s counsel explained that the Appellant planned to request a visa to Switzerland through Tajikistan, since he has been denied a visa to Pakistan. However, the Panel finds that the origin of the visa application would not change the situation, since the Swiss immigration authorities can be reasonably expected to deny any application from the Appellant, given the outstanding arrest warrant issued against him in Afghanistan;
ii. the Appellant’s witnesses, whose visa applications the Swiss immigration authorities have already denied, will be able to obtain a visa to Switzerland. In fact, the Appellant’s counsel affirmed during the hearing that they would never be able to go to Switzerland or even Europe; and
iii. that the telecommunications from Afghanistan, Pakistan or Tajikistan will improve enough to allow them to testify by phone or video-conference.
"87. According to article R57 of the Code, the CAS has full power to review the facts and the law. The consequences deriving from this provision are described in the consistent CAS jurisprudence, according to which "if the hearing in a given case was insufficient in the first instance (...) the fact is that, as long as there is a possibility of full appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the deficiency may be cured " (CAS 94/129 award of 23 May 1995, par. 59). Later the CAS has reaffirmed this principle, holding that "the virtue of an appeal system which allows for a rehearing before an appeal body is that issues relating to the fairness of the hearing before the Tribunal of First instance 'fade to the periphery '" (CAS 98/211, award of 7 June 1999, par. 8). More recently, the CAS has further relied on the Swiss Federal Tribunal case law, which held that "any infringement of the right to be heard can be cured when the procedurally flawed decision is followed by a new decision, rendered by an appeal body which had the same power to review the facts and the law as the tribunal of first instance and in front of which the right to be heard had been properly exercised" (CAS 2006/A/1177, award of May 2009, par. 7.3). For another recent case, see for instance, CAS 2008/A/1594 para. 109, " However, as CAS has complete power to review the facts and the law and to rule the case de novo, the procedural deficiencies which affected the procedures before FILA disciplinary bodies may be cured by virtue of the present arbitration proceedings (see e.g. CAS 2006/A/1175 paras. 61 and 62, CAS 2006/A/1153, para. 53, CAS 2003/O/486, para. 50)". This CAS jurisprudence is actually in line with European Court of Human Rights decisions, which in par. 41 of the Wickramsinghe Case concluded that "even where an adjudicatory body determining disputes over civil rights and obligations does not comply with Article 6 (1) [ECHR] in some respect, no violation of the Convention will be found if the proceedings before that body are subject to subsequent control by a judicial body that has full jurisdiction and does provide the guarantees of Article 6 (1)" .
i. file written submissions, including a second round of written submissions which the Panel granted at the sole request of the Appellant and which is not generally afforded to parties in CAS appeals proceedings (see supra at para.30);
ii. produce evidentiary documents, including a late summary of his expected witnesses’ depositions;
iii. orally plead his case and rebut the Respondent’s arguments and evidence; and
iv. call and examine/cross-examine witnesses.
i. Players A, B, C, and D submitted witness statements before the CAS dated 3 October 2019 (hereinafter also "CAS witness statements") containing excerpts from the interviews they had had before the FIFA Ethics Committee on 10 December 2018. As explained by the Respondent at the hearing, the witnesses had not, until time came to prepare their witness statements for the CAS proceedings, reviewed the aforementioned excerpts. When they finally did so, some of them noticed that the excerpts contained certain inaccuracies likely due to poor translation. As a result, the CAS witness statements contain, by way of insertions in brackets, clarifications about said inaccuracies. Those bracketed sentences are, where relevant, mentioned hereinafter in footnotes;
ii. in addition to submitting witness statements, each the Respondent’s witnesses testified individually and anonymously at the hearing;
iii. at the outset of their depositions before this Panel, all the witnesses confirmed the content of their respective witness statements and declared that they were made completely free of any outside pressures, truthfully, without cooperation from the other witnesses, and for no payment, reward, promise of asylum or any sort of benefit from FIFA or any third party;
iv. Players A, B, C and D testified that (i) they contacted FIFA through Ms [Redacted], (ii) except for Player B,1 they were the ones who initiated contact with Ms [Redacted], and (iii) except for Player F,2 they were also interviewed by the AGO.
" 3. The incident involving me and of which I spoke to the FIFA Ethics Committee took place sometime in 2016 in a room in the new building of the AFF, in an office in the upper level. In my statement to the FIFA Ethics Committee on 10 December 2018, I gave a full recollection of the incidents involving Mr Karim, and I hereby confirm having stated to the investigator that:
• In 2016:
"When I got inside, the boss was not in his normal office, he was in another office in the upper level. There is also a snooker table and other furniture. Some flowers and plants. There was a door to the left side, I hadn't seen what was inside that door and normally when I saw the boss I shook hands with him. When I gave him my hand, he held my hand and pressed my hand and he pulled me towards himself." (...)
"There was a small table in front of us. When he pulled me towards him my leg came into contact with the table. He didn't leave my hand when I gave him to shake it. He pressed it and pulled me towards him with a lot of power. He said come, and I sat next to him and I was trying to get apart and he was coming always towards me"
'Yes, I said to him you have made a mistake, Mr Keramuddin Karim. I am not such a girl, but he smiled and said to me: you are my friend you have to sit next to me and things like that. I tried to get a distance from him but he made it even with more power and hugged me. Then he tried to kiss me on the lips, I cried, I shouted. He said it is alright, don't make a noise. KK was the person who said so. When I fell down, -interrupted-
I was on the sofa, I tried to get distance from him, he pulled me once again towards himself and his hands were on my shoulders and he tried to hug me. He wanted to kiss me on the lips I shouted, he said it's alright it's alright keep quiet, I stood up. When I got up, he threw the paper onto my face. I didn't take the paper, I went directly towards the door with the intention to open it. But whatever I did, the door didn't get open but it could only get open through a finger. When I was trying to open the door, he shouted, he said come and take your paper. When I came back towards him and took the paper, he said to me from now on we are no more friends. That was somehow a threat to me. But I didn't pay attention, once I again I went to the door but it didn't open. He called me and he said put your finger on the space where the finger print is recognised. When I did so, the door was opened and I could get out". (...)
4. From the above, I wish to clarify that when I arrived to Mr Karim's office, he was in his other office on the upper level, and not in his normal office in the lower level. The discrepancy is likely due to a confusion in the translation.
5. After the incident, I was being affected negatively every day and I was transforming to a quiet and sad person. I used to think of the issues every day. I was eventually expelled from AFF after I complained about AFF. Later I found out from a teammate, that Mr Karim had told everyone I was a homosexual. He was the person who stopped my education, sport, and destroyed my human honour that I had among my teammates. Some of my teammates and some of the teams had cut relations with me. I used to hate everyone and I used to find myself helpless. (...)."
- in addition to telling her story to FIFA, she told it to the Guardian. She did so by answering questions that Ms [Redacted] had prepared, which Ms [Redacted] then forwarded to the Guardian. She has since read the Guardian article of 27 December 2018 and confirms that it accurately reports her declarations;
- she went to see the Appellant on the day of the incident to collect a letter as she was instructed to do. She did not provide any further details about this letter as the Panel deemed any questions related thereto inadmissible since they could possibly lead to her identification (see supra at para. 82).
"I participated in a seminar in 2016. ... The goal of the seminar was to attract children especially school kids to the sport. At the end of the seminar, I and other participants of the seminar was responsible to (redacted) I was responsible to prepare and bring (redacted) . I needed an official letter in order to recruit (redacted) . (Name redacted) drafted the letter, then I handed it over to Rustam [Redacted], the president's secretary and told him to get the president's signature. In the evening of the same day, Rustam called me and said that yourself must come and take the letter to the president for signature. I asked (name redacted) who was also a player to accompany me to the president's office and she went with me. When we wanted to enter the president's office, Rustam stood in front of us and said is this your aunt's house to go in groups. He said only (I) can go in. I had experience of going to the president's office before with other girls when his new office was inaugurated. I tried not to be afraid. I also heard that some girls were attacked in president's office so I was also a little afraid. But I stayed confident and strong and told myself that he can't do anything to me. I entered the office alone. When I knocked his door, he didn't answer. I told myself maybe he is not in the office. I told Rustam that he is not inside. Rustam told me to go in he is there. Rustam opened the door and guided me inside. Keramuddin was sitting on the couch. All the girls who visited Keramuddin Karim used to shake hand with him. I shook hand with him. He pressed my hand so hard then pulled me toward him. The amount of force he used made me to sit beside him. He kept holding my hand. When I wanted to explain him that why I was there (sic), he started talking like (My [Person 32] you are so angry, let's how's (sic) your boobs ... I want to enjoy with your body) I realized that he has a bad intention in his head. I tried to free my hand off him and get out of there. He pulled me again so hard, he started kissing my neck and face. When he was holding me I couldn't think freely, he rounded his hand around my back he was trying to kiss me by force. He hold me so hard with his other hand in order to kiss me. He tried to touch my breasts but I didn't let him and hit him with my elbow. Keramuddin told me wow you are so strong. Still he was touching me over my clothes. I started crying and told him to stop it. I am not like a girl who you think. I saw that he was so excited that he didn't know what he was doing. When he wanted to take his hand toward my sexual organ, I screamed out loud and said shame on you. I was considering you as my grandfather. I was considered you as a respectful person in my country, but today you showed me your real face. You are wild and animal. Finally, I managed to free myself from him. He cursed so bad and said get lost and take your letter. I was shaking and for some minutes I couldn't move. I couldn't feel my hands. He signed the letter and told me to get lost faster. I didn't stay quiet and I told him I will unveil your real dirty face. When I left his office I turned totally red and I was shaking. When I walked out (name redacted) was still waiting. She told me what happened. I told him that MotherFxxxxx wanted to sexually abuse me. He thought I am like the other girls to surrender myself to him. (Name redacted) told me to go... "
" 3. The incident which I relay below, involving Mr Karim, took place sometime end of 2017, in a room in the new building of the AFF, in an office in the upper level. I was a minor years old at the time of the incident.
4. In my statement to the FIFA Ethics Committee on 10 December 2018, I gave a full recollection of the incidents involving Mr Karim, and I hereby confirm having stated to the investigator that:
"That was about 9 or 10 months ago. (...) I was inside of the boss room and he approached me. He took my hand with force with one of his hands. He said: allow me to have sex with you, or allow me to kiss you wherever I want to kiss you and to do anything I want to do with you, allow me to do so. He said when you have allowed to do so, I will allow you to go to any trip for the national team and he said, your salary will become more. And then I started arguing with him, there was a lot of noise. And I said I don't need your money at all.
Question: (Are you) still playing football?
No, after that matter that the boss said to me to do sex with him, I couldn't continue with the football because no other club wanted to accept me. I don't know, but he has said to all the other clubs, don't take that girl into your team3 .
Question: How did (you) know this?
They were my friends who told me" (...)'
5. I wish to add the following to the above statement, in reference to the incident described above, which I also told to the Attorney General's Office in Afghanistan:
- During part of my time at the AFF, Mr Karim fixed 250 dollars to be my monthly salary.
- The incident described above took place at the end of 2017.
- On the day of the incident, Mr Karim told me that he will increase my salary in one condition: that I should be with him later, and I asked that what he meant. He got closer to me and touched my body and said that 'I want to kiss you and I want to have some pleasure.' I shouted and said that you are a dirty person, and you play with girls' honor. I uttered some other bad words as well.
- He said: I can touch you wherever I want to and you cannot stop me.
6. Sometime after May 2018 (after I had left the AFF), I heard that Mr Karim accused me of homosexuality. This is serious accusation in Afghanistan I could have been arrested. My heart broke. I lost my job, my passion and my honour. (...)."
" I went to the boss and I said: boss you said 250, you would pay me 250 and you wanted to help with my financial, economic problems, with my personal and university problems. But now I said: you have only given to me 150 and I cannot even pay for the car".
- in addition to telling her story to FIFA, she told it to the Guardian through Ms [Redacted];
- the players’ salaries were paid by the AFF accounting department in cash against a receipt;
- national team players would receive a monthly salary of $100 USD. This was her salary until the Appellant hired her to also be an AFF employee and increased her salary by $150 USD per month to total $250 per month;
- in the first month following the new arrangement, she only received $100 USD, and in the second month she only received $150 USD;
- the Appellant threatened her during the incident, by telling her that she would be fired if she rejected his sexual advances; he did not threaten her after the incident;
- she heard about the Appellant accusing her of homosexuality through a close associate of his and through Ms [Redacted]. They told her that she was supposed to go to a training camp in Jordan but that she had been "crossed out" from the list of selected players because she had refused the Appellant’s sexual advances and had been accused by him of being a lesbian;
- she quit her job with the AFF at the end of 2017 because she was not getting paid and had been abused sexually and labelled as a lesbian.
" In the beginning of 2018, I went to the president and complained that why my salary is not being paid because I need the money for my educational expenses. My family cannot afford my educational expenses I have to cover it myself. The president told me I will raise your salary and put you in all the foreign trips but you have to be very open with me. I asked him what do you mean? He stood up his chair and came closed to me. He sat beside me took my hands and got closer, he touched my body, kissed my neck and said just make love with me. I screamed to him that you are a dirty man. You play with girl's honor and respect. I said some other bad things too. I can touch any party of your body, you can't stop me. He was cuddling when Nawid (the cleaner) entered the room. The President left me and I took the opportunity to escape. I took my scarf and ran away. "
" 2. During the above period, I was a victim of rape (and witness to) sexual assault and abuse by the AFF president, Mr Keramuddin Karim. This incident, involving Mr Karim, took place around January or early 2017, in the old building of the AFF, in a room that was hidden behind the President's office.
3. In my statement to the FIFA Ethics Committee on 10 December 2018, I gave a full recollection of the incident involving Mr Karim, and I hereby confirm having stated to the investigator that:
'I was a player in the national team football and I played. It is clear that the rights of the Afghan girls is not too much. They do not have any right. One day, I needed money and I was obliged to go to the boss of the football federation and I wanted to ask him for the fees for the car, for the expenses. I didn't have enough money to pay for the car to go home. (...)
Then, I went inside of his office and I asked him for help. I said to him I need to pay for a car, I want to get home and I didn't want the other girls to know about it, please help me, I only wanted to get home.
I needed the money and I said I am coming so often to the training, please help and give me the expenses to get home and then I sat down and the boss came and sat down next to me. He put his arms on my shoulders.
Question: Where was this?
Inside of his office, inside of his office.
Question: Was anyone else there?
No, nobody else.
Question: Was the secretary outside?
The secretary was outside. When you go to see the boss, the door gets closed and you can sit down and talk to the boss. He came and sat down next to me and touched me on my shoulders and he said: you see, finally you got forced to come and to ask me for money and then I said to him, boss you know that I am student and you know exactly how much we get from the federation, it is very little. It is not sufficient for me it's not enough to get home and to come back and I 'm only asking you to give me some money to get home '.
'He came and sat down next to me and he touched my shoulders and he touched me on my body. How shall I tell you?4
First of all, on my shoulders on my neck, he kissed me, he tried to hug me. Then I stood up and he got to know that I felt somehow offended5 and he said: come on, I am giving you some money. We were in the room and then we got out of that room. He took me through a room that leads to the place where the girls change their clothes. We were in the changing room. I asked what are we doing here, he said don't say anything, just come with me. I went behind him and he could see that I was trembling and shaking. He could see that the colour of my face changed.
Then he came and took my hand and hugged me6 and then he said: I don't want to do you any harm. We went to the lavatory and opposite there, there was another room and there was a space we had never ever gone inside.
And there was nothing inside. And there he opened a door and we went inside of that room and he took me inside too.
We went inside, into a room where it looked like an office, arm chairs, tables and everything was there. I sat down on the chair, I said I haven't seen this room, he said don't tell anyone you have come inside. You are the first person I have taken into this room. He said don't tell anyone about that. I said it's getting late, my family is going to be (worried) please give me the money for a car and I will be going. I need the money. I will be leaving.
On the chair, he approached me and kissed me and he hugged my kissed me (sic) and he was touching me everywhere. He touched me on my hips, he put my arms around him.
I was really angry, he tried to kiss me on my lips and he was touching me and he tried to kiss me on my lips.
He said: What is the matter with you, I don't know if you are a girl or a boy. What kind of emotions have you got? You haven't got any emotions. Then I didn't say anything. I only stood up and I said again.
Boss, I haven't got a lot of time, please, give me the money and I'll be going7.
There were two wardrobes in that space and he opened one of the wardrobes. I thought this is his safe and he is going to give me some money. But then he said: come with me. I thought he was going to give me the money. He took me inside and I saw that there was a big room, there was a bed a washroom and toilet.
I also wanted to say, the room we had got inside through the changing room and this room, they could only be opened through his finger print recognition. The second room was also opened with his finger print recognition8 .
Question: The room where the bed was?
Yes. You open the wardrobe with the fingerprint, then the door to the room is opened. You don't need any lock.
Question: So, she is saying about the secret office and the wardrobe?
Yes. He puts his finger on and the door gets opened. If you see it before you don't think it's a door. You don't see it.
Both rooms were opened with the finger print. And the door closed. And then he was standing opposite me and said: I want to know, I want to make sure, whether you are a boy or a girl. I said to him: Boss, it is not your business, what will you have, if you know I am a boy or a girl. I have my problems.
He came and touched me kissed me, hugged me and things like that. He said don't get nervous and he touched me too much, when it got too much, I packed him at this collar and I pushed him away and I said to him: Boss, don't approach me, don't touch, me I don't need your money, I don't want anything, open the door and let me go. He pushed me with his hand to the bed and then he came and he threw himself on my body, I tried to defend myself, but I couldn't. I tried to get away from him and we had somehow a fight and I tried to defend myself and he gave me a punch into my face, I started bleeding out of my nose. He had given me a punch into my face and I became somehow dizzy. When I got up, I saw that the whole bed was full of blood and that I had black spots and bruises on my neck and on my face.
I don't know how much time I was on the bed being weak and unconscious, and when I got conscious again, I got up, I saw everywhere was blood. I didn't have any clothes and I wasn't wearing anything.
I went to the bathroom and washed myself and I said to him: now you know that I am a girl, but I am not going to keep silent. I am going to the media and I'm going to record a video and I am going to file a complaint against you.
The boss was sitting opposite me. He took his pistol and he said to me: I am going to fire the pistol and your brain will explode. If you raise your voice, if anybody gets to know about this, and then he threw the money at my face, about 3 or 4 hundred Dollars, and he said: take the money and disappear from here. There was another door to the backside and I saw that there was a car from him standing there which he arrives at the federation with. This was at the back of the federation, this was completely separate from the federation, I felt I was in a very bad situation, I tried to get out of this situation as soon as possible. Then I saw his secretary, Mr (...), he is his General Secretary. I met him and I wanted to start crying and to tell him what had happened. I wanted to tell him in what situation I was.
Question: So, when you opened the back door, did you leave through the back door?
Yes, I came out of the back door, next to the place where his car was parked. (...)
(...) I was in very bad condition. I wanted to get out of the federation and to find a way to get home. (...) I had black spots on my face and on my neck and I tried to hide it and I went home, my mother asked me, what had happened and I said that it happened during football. Some time passed and a few people came towards our house. These people told my father, if you want to save your honour, because of your daughter, you shouldn't let her go to football or to school anymore. My mother came and asked me: what has happened?
I said to her that we had some fighting on the football field and I had some arguments and I have broken a window and I took a glass and I broke a window and I had some problems with my boss. And I had thrown a glass into the face of my boss. My father and my mother talked to each other, and my father said to my mother said that I had done something very bad. For this reason, people come to our house and say something like that..." (...)
5. Further, Mr Karim ruined my reputation by telling publicly telling (sic) the girls at the federation that I was a lesbian. The word "lesbian" literally is enough for my father, only that word would be enough for my own father. In Islamic countries like Afghanistan if you only say in the public, if you say a girl is a lesbian, her own family will punish her. This word would have been enough for me not to be able to live a normal life again. I would have never been able to continue my life in Afghanistan. I would never be able to get married. There was no other way for me. I could stay with my own family.
6. When I heard this news, all paths were blocked for me. I didn't have permission to go to school neither practice. I was like a useless thing, and I hated myself and the world. I tried to commit suicide many times, and I used to shout and yell, all my family members were tired of me. Eight months passed. I was not a virgin anymore and could no longer get married. I appealed and requested relatives to allow me to leave my country. I fled from Afghanistan sometime in 2017 before Guardian broke the news. (...)"
- Players’ salaries were paid in cash against a receipt. The day of the incident she went to the Appellant’s office to ask for money, as the AFF had not paid her salary for three months;
- she first went to the Appellant’s office in the new AFF building to request her money. However, the Appellant told her that he did not have the money there and asked her to follow him to the old AFF building, which she did. Even though the AFF had moved to the new building in 2015, the Appellant used both his office in that building and the one in the old AFF building after 2015;
- to get from the Appellant’s office in the new building to his office in the old building, one had to go down the stairs, exit the building, and walk 2-3 minutes outside. Then one had to enter a small room with the secretary’s desk. From there one could enter the Appellant’s office;
- when she entered the Appellant’s office the secretary, Mr [Redacted], was not there.
- the Appellant’s office in the old AFF building used fingerprint recognition locks. They were set up on the outside of the rooms only. She did not remember whether this meant that one could open the door from the inside of the room by simply turning the door handle, but she has the impression that the Appellant also had a switch or some other mechanism under his desk that would allow him to lock/unlock the door from the inside;
- the Appellant’s office in the old building had wooden walls decorated with awards and a large one way window;
- once inside the Appellant’s office the Appellant went through a secret sliding door to another room. He called her over to this room and she complied, as she thought that was where the money was;
- she does not know the type of "revolver" the Appellant had or where exactly he got it from. In any case, she was in the bedroom when he took out his gun;
- the Appellant told her to wash up, threw three or four hundred dollars at her and kicked her out. After she washed her face, she opened the secret sliding door and then the door to the outside to exit. She went through a covered garage and then into the open air where there was an iron gate. She got home with the help of a colleague;
- after the incident, she did not see any doctor, but only because the conditions in Afghanistan are not such that she could go to one for a rape case. She also did not take any pictures of her bruises, since she did not have the means to do so; she only had a very primitive phone which was not advanced enough to take pictures;
- she learned from her friends that the Appellant had labelled her as a lesbian. This had a significant negative effect on her life, causing her to withdraw from football, from school, from society and from life. She even considered committing suicide.
" I was always dressed up like a boy since I was a kid. From the beginning I had realized that Keramuddin Karim stares at me and he always wanted to get close to me. He always told me to come to my office, let's talk about the challenges of the federation and you report to me in order to solve it. They always didn't pay the player's money, sometimes even up to 4 months. In 2017 one day after I finished the training. I need money for my transportation. I couldn't borrow from my friends. With my training clothes I entered to Keramuddin Karim's office. I said hello then sit in his office. I told him I need some money to pay for taxi. He laughed at me and said finally you came to my office. He told me: now tell me whatever you need. I look my head down and said I don't have the money to pay for Taxi. He stood up from his chair and walked toward me. I was sitting on the couch. He also sat beside me. I was shaking and said excuse me but why you don't pay the cost of our transportation, we need it. Can you give me please? He put his hand over my shoulder and poured a tea for me. He said drink it. It's good and take some rest. After a few minutes he searched his pockets and said I have no money in my pocket, wait here I go to my other office and bring you money. I quickly drank the tea. He told me let's go. He walked toward the women's team's changing room. We entered the changing room, he told me to come. I was surprised that what he is doing here. I followed him. In the changing room there was a dark place where we used to put random stuff. It was full of dust and dirt, no one would go there. The president entered the same room and said we have to keep our money somewhere safe. When we entered he hit the wall so (h)ard. I was shocked then I saw there was a small hidden door. We entered, there was a small room with a table and a chair. The room looked like a reception, in front of that there was bigger door opened by fingerprint. He opened it. It was a big and facilitated room with table, chairs, dining area, furniture, big table, and a chair for Keramuddin. There was also a cabinet filled with medals, appreciation letters and so on. Next to the president's chair there was a cabinet. I sat on a chair, the president opened the cabinet. I went there. Then I spotted that the cabinet is a door to a room. He took my hand and told me that in this bad situation the money should be kept inside somewhere very safe. He took me into the room and closed the door. I saw the room was equipped with standard amenities like bed, shower, TV and everything. It was like a hotel.
(A) bedroom with everything inside and a bathroom. He told me to go in. I went in, he was behind me and he locked the door.
He told me to sit on the bed. I was worried. I was shaking. He said: 'Today I want to find out what is behind your clothes'. I was telling him: 'Leave me alone. I want to go home'. I stood up and I said I wanted to go home and he said to me: 'Scream as much as you want, there won't be anyone hearing you, they can't hear you.'
Then he started pushing me towards the bed. I stood up again. I said: 'Leave me alone I only came for support. I don't want it any more, please leave me alone, let me go'.
He was telling me. that today he would find out if I was a lesbian or not because I was with girls a lot and I looked a little like a boy.
I stood up and tried to fight but he punched me in the face. I fell on to the bed. I tried to rise and go to the door but because the door used his fingerprint it was not possible to open it without his fingerprint. So I couldn't get out. He punched me on the face and on my mouth. Blood was coming from my nose and lips. He sta(rt)ed beating me. I fell on the bed and everything went dark.
When I woke up, all my clothes were gone and there was blood everywhere. I was shaking, I didn't know what happened to me. The bed was covered in blood, blood was coming from my mouth, nose and vagina. I went to the bathroom. I washed my face and put my clothes on. I went back and said: I will go like this and I will tell the media what happened to me.9
He took a gun. his gun. Put it on my head and said: 'See what I have done to you ? I can shoot (you) in the head and everywhere will be your brain. And I can do the same with your family. If you want your family to be alive you should keep quiet'.
Then he threw money at my face and told me to take it and get out. He said he didn't want to see my face. He opened the door and I left10 .
It was too late in the night. I was crying, I also had no money. The way was strange to me. I reached to the gate of the federation. The smaller door was open. I entered and I saw [Person 5] (A)ghazda was there. I was crying I wanted to tell him what happened, he took his business card threw it at my face. He said whenever you needed money call this number otherwise get lose from here. "
" 2. During that period, I was a victim of (and witness to) sexual assault and abuse by the AFF president, Mr Keramuddin Karim. The incidents took place in a room in the old building of the AFF, in a secret room that was hidden behind the President's office.
3. In my statement to the FIFA Ethics Committee on 10 December 2018, I gave a full recollection of the incidents involving Mr Karim, and I hereby confirm having stated to the investigator that:
• Several years ago:
'Yes. I was sitting on the sofa and he came and sat down next to me and he slowly took my hand and he pressed my hand and he said: whenever anybody is looking into your direction, I will shoot into his eyes because I love you and I don't want anybody to have even a look into your direction. And then he slowly started, I was really afraid I said to him I'm not such a girl.
Question: He started slowly what?
He touched me, he hugged me. He tried to hug me and he wanted to do several things. Different things. I was shouting, I said I am not a bad girl, I am very young. I said to him: you are my boss and you are like a father to me.
Question: What things did he want to do to her?
He took my hand, he touched my hands, he hugged me and he kissed me, he wanted to kiss me on my lips. And he took all the efforts not to release me, to hold me tight and to take me into his bedroom which was also over there in his office, he tried to play with me, to get me out of that room and into the other room and I shouted, the secretary had kept the door from the back side tight.
He closed the door and I knocked against the door and I wanted it to be open, I was crying and I was shouting and the secretary opened the door. And when he opened the door, the secretary pulled my hand and told me: don't go. I got out and I was very young and I didn't have such an experience and I didn't even have such ideas, so I was shocked. And then I went away, I tried to get into the office of the federation to take my belongings and I was crying. I was in that bad condition, I was crying and they could see that I was getting out of the boss' office in that bad condition. I got out and I went away and I didn't come back to the federation, I became depressive, I didn't come back (at all) ... "11
• In 2017:
'I was all alone, she was not there, she had a different plan. My phone rang. I looked on it and I saw that it was the number of Keramuddin Karim. I saw it's him and I didn't answer the phone. He phoned several times because he could see through his (glass window12) from the opposite side. I was waiting there because it had already happened to me once, I was already afraid of him. From the back side, there is a door that leads to the football field.
Question: Back side where?
There is a changing room and a door where people get out onto the field. Out of there a voice could be heard saying: why don't you answer?
Question: Behind you?
He said: answer the phone and do exactly what I tell you to do. I was afraid and no one else was around and I was all alone. I took the phone and he said whatever I tell you to do, you'll do it, the voice was behind me and the phone rang he gave the instruction through the phone.
I answered the phone. He went slowly in the direction of his bedroom.
Question: We are at the steps? Explain from there?
In front of me, there is the field and on the other side, there is the door. He gave me the instructions (by phone). He said come in through the door where the changing room is. He said to me: turn right and there is a big steel door. And the door got opened and then he said: enter the room. I went into the room and I passed through the door and he said: there is another door and open that door, too.
Question: When you entered the room, what was in the room? In the first room.
He wasn't in the first room.
Question: What was there?
In the first room, that was the place for his car. A parking lot. This is somehow like a garage for his car.
Question: When she got to the metal door, it got open, what did she see?
Look, there is a metal door. And then, there is another door. There is a space where his car is parked. And then you open the door and there is a lavatory together with a bathroom and then there is another door to the room where there is a bed inside.
Question: So, from the garage you go to the lavatory, then you go to the room?
Look, I went from the garage to a door and from this side, there is a room and a door. This is the door to his bedroom, the bedroom of Keramuddin Karim.
Question: Is there any other door?
There are four doors.
I entered the room, I saw everything was quiet. I went inside and I saw that Keramuddin Karim is sitting in his underpants on the bed. When I saw him in that condition, I was shocked. I hadn't imagined something like that, I hadn't thought about it. When I saw him in that condition, I wanted to flee and to escape. Only himself, he could open the door, nobody else could open the door.
Question: So, when you got in it, it got locked behind you? How did you get into the bedroom?
He told me what direction to go.
Question: How did she open the door of the bedroom?
He opened the door, he had opened all the doors.
Question: So, they were wide open?
Yes because he had gone before me inside. He had opened the doors himself.
Question: How did they close behind her? Were they opened or unlocked?
Look, I had the phone, he gave me the instructions and he had left the door open, when I entered, the doors got closed. When I saw him in that condition, I remembered how people said in the federation that (...) had been raped. They had been talking about that in the federation. When I saw him in that condition, I couldn't stand it. I thought for myself: your life is passed and you cannot live on. You are trapped. He stood up from the bed. He took off my veil, my headscarf. He started tearing off my clothes, whatever I was wearing. I was shouting all the time. Screaming. And over there, everything is silent, it's very quiet. I thought for myself you are lost, completely lost, I was crying, shouting, screaming, he tore off my clothes and wanted to pull off my complete clothes, and then I continued screaming and shouting and knocking at the door and screaming: help, help. I knew exactly that nobody could hear me.
Then he said: I am leaving you free. I don't want to do you any harm13 , but all his promise were lies, he only wanted me to come back and then he came back again and he wanted to harass and bully me. He talked in a bad manner to me and he was shouting at me and on some days he kicked me out of the federation, then he phoned me again to come, he made false allegations against me, he said wrong matters about me. I didn't say anything.
He said you have to come to the federation. Everybody saw how you got out of my office, I will put your life in danger, I will endanger your family, he threatened me a lot, and I loved football (...).
Then I got always message saying to me you cannot escape. He was always bullying me, harassing me, he threatened me about my family, he was mentally abusing me. (...) I had no more power to go on and for this reason, I had to flee and come to (...). I had his voice in my mobile. Unfortunately, I lost my phone in the waters. The reason why he was looking so badly at me and he said: There will be the time when I will kill you (...).
5. Finally, I left football because my honor was more valuable than football. My life was bitter, and I had lost my peace of mind and body. I used to blame myself and used to be scared of my own shadow. I was scared of all the men in the world. He had turned my life into hell; I could neither sleep nor be in peace. My all body was burning, I didn't have good relation with family and I was going nowhere. I couldn 't share with family that what had happened to me. (...)"
- the Appellant went down to the field from the road behind. When he asked her to answer his calls he was three meters behind her. She does not remember what he was wearing at that time. He then went ahead of her, called her and gave her instructions on where to go. She could not see the Appellant as she received his instructions by telephone. To get to the Appellant, she went through four doors all of which he had left open;
- she was called a lesbian by the Appellant. In fact, during practices, before the coaches and trainers arrived, he would go down to the field and yell at the players that they were all lesbians.
" First time it was in 2013. One day I participated the women committee meeting, the president's secretary. Rustam [Redacted] came and told me that Keramuddin Karim wants to speak to you in his office. I went there because I thought maybe he has some important programs and he wants me to tell the other girls about it. When I entered the president's office, he was sitting behind his working desk. I sat on a sofa, he asked me how was the training. I said it's going well. Then he slowly came closer and sat beside me. I took little distance but he took my hands and said (to me) I love you. Anyone who looks at you I will kill him with a bullet. I was afraid I said no Mr President, no one stares at me. I stood up. Keramuddin Karim also stood up. I tried to free my hands from him. But he was trying to kiss me and hug me. I took the opportunity bite his hand. I shouted out loud and said Rustam! Please open the door. When Rustam opened the door the president left me. I took my chances and escaped. The president's office was in front of secretariat office. When I walked out Rustam took my hand and tried to hold me. I pushed him away and said go away pimp and I quickly escaped. I told them that I will take my revenge and complain. When I walked out I was feeling so bad. My friend (name redacted) saw me, she told me what happened? I told her the whole story. When I felt better I went home. I told myself that I will never go back there. I left all my dreams behind. I felt so weak. A man like my grandfather, the president of an organization who is responsible for our security has done this to me? How is it possible?
In my absence. He fired me and told everyone that (I) can't come to play football anymore. I also decided not to go. I turned my phone off. But no one including (names redacted) had signed my termination letter. I was only in contact with (names redacted) who were my best friends. Finally all my friends asked me to come back to the federation. I couldn't tell the real story to everyone, it wasn't acceptable for my friends. I was so badly broken, I was making my room so dark and always crying. I was afraid of everyone and I hated every men. After some time the president himself called. He smiled and said I will not bother you, come and resume your training. Everyone respects you. Everyone looks at me as a suspect. At the end he threated that If you don't come back I will not let your family to live freely.
I couldn't tell my family about what happened. Everyone was asking why you are not going to the federation. I was really in a bad situation. Finally I decided to go back and promised myself to avoid anything to happen to me and any girl again. We all girls decided that from now on we will never go to his office alone.
I returned but, she says, her ordeal was far from over. The president, whenever I was going to training, was coming on to the pitch and in front of everyone saying I was not polite, I talked a lot, and was directly threatening me, saying he would cut out my tongue to silence me. He was non-stop abusing me and harassing me.
One day she says she was early for training at the federation. 'I was sitting on the benches waiting for the rest of the team. He started calling me on the phone. I was ignoring it, so he came out himself and told me to come. I had to follow him, there was nothing I could do. I had to cross four doors he had gone ahead and had me on the phone giving me instructions of where to go.'14
'After the four doors I was in a bedroom. It was like a five-star hotel with a mirror, modern furniture. a bed. women's stuff, perfumes and stuff on the drawers. When I got there and saw that I started recalling the stories I had heard. I was scared and I started crying. I thought it was the end of my life.'15
'The president was naked and was on the bed waiting for me. When I started crying he got up and ran towards me and held me and was trying to pull my scarf and dress away. He was attacking and tearing at my dress. I was crying, I was screaming, I was struggling. I was very lucky. He received a phone call: I started screaming, he pushed me away and tried to silence me but I didn't stop screaming. He had no choice then and he opened the door. When he opened the door I ran.'16
He told me that you managed to escape this time but next time you won't be able to do so I will turn your life into hell ... ".
" 2. ... I was a victim of sexual assault and abuse by the AFF president, Mr Keramuddin
Karim. The incident took place in a room in the old building of the AFF, in a secret room that was hidden behind the President's office.
3. I have not testified before the FIFA Ethics Committee because at that time I was afraid of doing so. ....
• In 2015, Rustam asked me to follow him. We moved towards the offices of Futsal, and we turned to the left. We went towards the parking lodge of cars. He pulled a grey garage gate to the left side, and we entered. I saw that it was open, (without ceiling), enclosure. We moved a bit ahead, there was another door at the corner of left side. I do not remember the exact color of the door. Rustam opened the door with a key and invited me inside. When I entered I saw that the head's car was parked. At the right side, there was a door. Rustam opened the door but he didn't go inside. I entered the room, and it was like a bedroom. Inside the room, at the right side was a washroom, and at the left side a bit forward was a two people bed. At the right side there was a couch for one person. I sat on the couch. I was astonished after seen the room and I felt fear in my heart. After few moments, from the side a dark brown door was pulled. The head of the federation entered the room and I paid him Salam.
He smiled, sat on the bed, and asked me if I was fine.
He said: don't be scared. Sit on the bed.
I didn't talk and all my body was shivering. He hugged me, and I was crying that do not touch me, and I used to push his hands away, and crying.
I was attempting to release myself.
He slapped me at the back of my neck and asked me to calm down. He stood up and kicked me on my waist with his foot. I fall off the bed and ran away shouting.
He said: get lost the slut girl (sic). I ran away from the federation. ..."
- the Appellant alleges that there is an inconsistency as to where Player A met the Appellant. The Appellant points out that, on the one hand, before the CAS and FIFA Ethics Committee, Player A declared that the Appellant " was not in his normal office", whereas the Guardian article and her testimony to the AGO refer to the "President's office" .
Panel finds no inconsistency here. Player A clarified in her CAS witness statement that "when I arrived to Mr Karim's office, he was in his other office on the upper level, and not in his normal office in the lower level ". In other words, it appears that Player A first went to the Appellant’s "normal office" before going to the office on the upper level;
- the Appellant alleges that there is an inconsistency as to how Player A got on the couch.
The Panel finds no inconsistency on the point. It is clear from her testimony that she was forcefully pulled onto the couch by the Appellant. In her CAS witness statement she declared that " He didn't leave my hand when I gave him to shake it. He pressed it and pulled me towards him with a lot of power. He said come, and I sat next to him and I was trying to get apart and he was coming always towards me " (emphasis added). This is consistent with her statement before the AGO that "Keramuddin was sitting on the couch.. I shook hand with him. He pressed my hand so hard then pulled me toward him. The amount of force he used made me to sit beside him " (emphasis added);
- the Appellant alleges that there is an inconsistency as to where precisely the Appellant first tried to kiss her. The Appellant points out that, on the one hand, before the CAS and FIFA Ethics Committee she said " lips ", whereas to the AGO she said "neck" and to the Guardian she said "neck and lips" .
The Panel finds that the particular to which this inconsistency, if any, refers is insignificant;
- the Appellant alleges that there is an inconsistency as to how Player A exited the room.
The Panel finds no inconsistency. In her declaration to the FIFA Ethics Committee, which she confirmed at CAS, the witness declared that initially she could not open the door due to the fingerprint recognition locks. This declaration is not inconsistent with her statement to the AGO that she " left the office ". In both instances she in fact left the office and there is no indication in her statement to the AGO that she left the office unimpeded.
- the Appellant alleges that there is an inconsistency as to the amount Player B claimed was owed to her. The Appellant pointed out that, according to the FIFA Interview Excerpt annexed to the Final Report, she told the Appellant the AFF owed her USD 150, whereas during cross-examination she stated she was owed USD 100.
The Panel finds no inconsistency here. Upon further questioning, Player B clarified at the hearing that: (i) at the time of the incident she had recently received a pay raise, under which she would earn a total USD 250 monthly, USD 100 for being national team player and USD 150 for being an AFF employee; and (ii) in the first month of the new arrangement, she received only USD 100, and in the second month only USD 150;
- the Appellant alleges that there is an inconsistency as to when and how she came to hear that the Appellant allegedly labelled her as a lesbian.
At the hearing, however, Player B explained that she came to hear about this "sometime after 2018 (after I had left the AFF)" from a close associate of the Appellant’s and from Ms [Redacted], who told her that she had been "crossed out" from the list of the players selected to attend a training camp in Jordan because she had refused the Appellant’s sexual advances and had been accused by him of being a lesbian. The Appellant questioned how the alleged lesbian accusations could be the reason for her being removed from the Jordan camp list, considering that said camp took place in February 2018 and that, according to her CAS witness statement and cross-examination, she had quit football after the alleged incident at the end of 2017. Still, the Panel does not know when the selection list was created and when her name would have been crossed out, and finds no proven inconsistency here: indeed, the "crossing out" of the list of attendees could have been "justified" by the "labelling" of the Player, to cover the real reasons of her giving up with football.
- the Appellant alleges that there is an inconsistency as to where the incident occurred. During cross-examination, when asked where she met the Appellant, she answered in the "new building". The Appellant’s counsel was quick to point out that in her witness statement Player C had testified that the incident occurred in the " old buildin g". Upon further questioning, however, Player C explained that she initially went to the new building, but that the Appellant then asked her to follow him to the old building, which was in short walking distance. She added that the Appellant used both his office in the old building and one in the new building after 2015.
In light of Player C’s clarification, the Panel finds no inconsistency on this point;
- the Appellant alleges that there is an inconsistency as to whether Mr [Redacted] was in the building when the incident occurred. The Appellant’s counsel pointed out that Player C declared in her witness statement that when she went into the Appellant’s office " the secretary was outside ", but that during crossexamination she declared that " he was not there ". The Appellant’s counsel considered these statements as inconsistent, because he interpreted " the secretary was outside" to mean that Mr [Redacted] was outside of the Appellant’s office in the adjacent secretary’s office.
The Panel finds his interpretation to be incorrect. From the cross-examination, it is clear that Player C, in stating that he was " outside ", meant that he was "outside of the building", i.e. "not there";
- the Appellant alleges that there is an inconsistency as to where the gun came from. Player C declared in her CAS witness statement that the Appellant "took his pistol". When asked at the hearing where the gun came from, she explained that she had no idea.
The Panel finds no such inconsistency. The fact that Player C does not know where the Appellant got the pistol from (e.g. , his belt, under a pillow, etc.) does not discredit that he took it and pointed it at her. In this regard, the Appellant also claims that he could not have possibly had a gun in the room since firearms were prohibited in the heavily guarded building. However, the Panel finds that it is not inconceivable, especially considering he held the highest position in the AFF, that he somehow managed to get a gun into the AFF building. Finally, on this point, the Appellant also points out that Player C did not describe the gun allegedly used. In the Panel’s view, "gun", "pistol" and "revolver" - all terms used by Player C - are sufficiently descriptive and consistent; one cannot discredit the testimony of the player for not knowing what exact type of gun the Appellant used;
- the Appellant alleges that there is an inconsistency as to where he was when he pointed the gun at her.
In Player C’s witness statement it seems as though she was in the bathroom when it happened. However, in her testimony she confirmed that it occurred in the bedroom. The Panel thus finds no inconsistency.
- the Appellant alleges that there is an inconsistency in relation to the 2017 incident as to how the door " got opened " and how, if the Appellant opened the doors, he managed to strip into his underpants before Player D arrived.
In her CAS witness statement, Player D explained that the Appellant " opened all the doors ". However, in that same statement, as well as during crossexamination, Player D explained that he had left the doors open for her to walk through. Indeed, when asked by the FIFA Ethics Committee whether all the doors were " wide open ", she replied " Yes because he had gone before me inside. He had opened the doors himself ". Therefore, the Panel finds no inconsistency on this point;
- the Appellant alleges that there is an inconsistency in relation to the 2017 incident as to what the Appellant was wearing when she reached him.
As pointed out by the Appellant’s counsel, in the Guardian article dated 27 December 2018 it reports that she found the Appellant " naked ", whereas to the FIFA Ethics Committee and in her CAS witness statement she testified she found him in his " underpants ". Upon further questioning at the hearing, the Appellant confirmed that she found him in his underpants and explained that the cause of the apparent discrepancy must have been nothing more than a poor translation. In light of this, the Panel finds no inconsistency here. In any case, the alleged inconsistency is (i) with a document that has not been submitted to the record as evidence (FIFA only provided the link to the Guardian article) and, moreover, (ii) not significant enough to discredit Player C’s testimony;
- the Appellant alleges that there is an inconsistency in relation to the 2017 incident as to how Player D left the room.
To the Panel it is clear that Player D left the room after she kicked him and he opened the door. Indeed, in her CAS witness statement she said "I kicked him hard on his penis and he was in pain. He opened the door and I escaped ". This is fully consistent with her declaration to the AGO that "I hit him in his testicle, he was hurt and he opened the door. I ran away" .
- Mr Rustam to claim that his testimony before the AGO (in which he confirmed the existence of the secret room) was false and coerced;
- certain players of the AFF women’s national team to assert that: (i) the Appellant did not have a scheme of luring female players into his office or a secret room, or of offering them money, and so forth, (ii) in the past other players left the AFF national team and fled Afghanistan using human traffickers to Greece, India and Turkey in search of a better life and not because the Appellant had allegedly threatened them, (iii) Ms [Redacted] had a "quest" against the Appellant, and (iv) they have never heard of any abuse within the AFF;
- Messrs [Person 7] and [Person 14] to discuss the general organization of the AFF national team, the relationship between the Appellant and the players and the AGO’s handing of the criminal case against AFF officials in Afghanistan.
" 1. Persons bound by this Code shall protect, respect and safeguard the integrity and personal dignity of others.
2. Persons bound by this Code shall not use offensive gestures and language in order to insult someone in any way or to incite others to hatred or violence.
3. Harassment is forbidden. Harassment is defined as systematic, hostile and repeated acts intended to isolate or ostracise or harm the dignity of a person.
4. Sexual harassment is forbidden.
5. Threats, the promise of advantages and coercion are particularly prohibited.
6. Violation of this article shall be sanctioned with an appropriate fine of at least CHF 10,000 as well as a ban on taking part in any football-related activity for a maximum of two years. In serious cases and/or in the case of repetition, a ban on taking part in any football-related activity may be pronounced for a maximum of five years."
" 1. Persons bound by this Code shall not abuse their position in any way, especially to take advantage of their position for private aims or gains.
2. Violation of this article shall be sanctioned with an appropriate fine of at least CHF 10,000 as well as a ban on taking part in any football-related activity for a minimum of two years. The sanction shall be increased accordingly where the person holds a high position in football, as well as in relation to the relevance and amount of the advantage received."
1. The appeal filed by Mr Keramuddin Karim on 25 July 2019 against the decision of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee rendered on 8 June 2019 is dismissed.
2. The decision of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee rendered on 8 June 2019 is confirmed.
3. The award is pronounced without costs, except for the Court Office fee of CHF 1,000 (one thousand Swiss Francs) paid by Mr Keramuddin Karim, which is retained by the CAS.
5. All further or different motions or prayers for relief are dismissed.
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