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Sport – 24 Dec 2019

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Australia Test against Afghanistan on hold due to COVID-19

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(Last Updated On: September 26, 2020)

Australia’s planned historic maiden Test against Afghanistan has become the latest victim of the global coronavirus pandemic, with the one-off match scheduled for later this year postponed until next year.

According to Cricket Australia (CA), complexities around international travel and quarantine requirements have also forced Cricket Australia to push back their proposed men’s ODI series against New Zealand until 2021-22.

Under the speculative schedule released by CA in May, the Test against Afghanistan was to have been played at Perth Stadium in late November.

But Cricket Australia confirmed Friday that following discussions with the Afghanistan and New Zealand cricket boards the decision had been made to delay those matches until next summer due to “the complexity of scheduling international matches during the global coronavirus pandemic”.

CA indicated it was confident a suitable window could be found within the current ICC Future Tours Program (FTP), that maps out the complex playing schedule for international men’s teams, to stage the postponed bilateral matches before the FTP’s conclusion in 2023.

“Cricket Australia looks forward to working with our good friends at the Afghanistan Cricket Board and New Zealand Cricket to deliver the matches at a time when, hopefully, the restrictions brought on by the COVID19 pandemic have eased,” CA’s interim Chief Executive Officer Nick Hockley said today.

“We all worked incredibly hard to make the series happen this summer, but the challenges around international travel and quarantine restrictions ultimately convinced all parties that the series would need to be played at a later date.”

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Afghanistan’s ‘cricket is proof that dreams come true’: ACB director

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(Last Updated On: September 22, 2020)

The Director of Cricket at Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), Raees Ahmadzai said on Tuesday that with hard work and determination “dreams do come true” and that Afghanistan’s cricket is proof of this. 

Representing the ACB at a virtual meeting of the Asian Cricket Council, attended by both full-members and some associate members, Ahmadzai provided details on the country’s achievements and on its challenges. 

According to the ACB, Ahmadzai also discussed the enormous potential of talent in the country – especially with spin bowlers. 

He said: “Without doubt with hard work and determination, dreams do come true and Afghanistan Cricket is a living example of it. Afghan cricketers have been through various hurdles and struggles to enjoy its results today.”

The participants, which also included officials from the International Cricket Council (ICC), recognized Afghanistan Cricket Board’s efforts to promote the game in the war-torn country. 

The meeting came just a day after ACB’s acting CEO Nazeem Abdul Rahimzai met with the governor of Nangarhar Ziaulhaq Amarkheil to discuss progress around the construction of the new Behsud cricket grounds in Jalalabad. 

Construction started about six weeks ago and phase one, which involves the leveling of the ground, is expected to be completed in the next month. 

Rahimzai asked for the governor’s assistance on some issues relating to the project and “was fully assured of full support by the local government,” an ACB statement read. 

Amarkheil meanwhile said cricket in the province should be a priority and said the project would be completed on time. 

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US calls for ex-Afghan football chief’s arrest on sexual abuse charges

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(Last Updated On: September 10, 2020)

The United States has called for Keramuddin Karim, the former president of the Afghanistan Football Federation, to be arrested and prosecuted so that justice can prevail. 

The US Chargé d’Affaires Ross Wilson said on Twitter Thursday that as FIFA found Keramuddin Karim guilty of sexual abuse the US calls “for justice for the brave Afghan women of @Afghanistanwnt who risked their lives to come forward & for the Afghan judicial system to run its course.”

“Victims are entitled to see justice done through a fair trial,” he said. 

This comes after an unsuccessful police operation to arrest Keram in Panjshir province last month. 

At the time of the operation, a standoff between police and Keram’s gunmen ensued, with police eventually pulling back without having made the arrest. 

Following the incident, Mohammad Amin Sediqi, the acting governor of Panjshir said local officials had not been consulted before the attempted arrest. 

In July, President Ashraf Ghani called on the people of Panjshir to “expel” Keram from the province and “enforce the rule of law.”

“I will suspend and help prosecute any official engaged in corruption or abuse of authority, no matter where or at what location,” Ghani said.

Last year, the Afghan attorney general’s office issued an arrest warrant for Keram, after he was found guilty by FIFA of sexually abusing female football players. 

FIFA also slapped him with a lifetime ban from football and fined him about $1 million. 

In June last year, FIFA said Keram had “abused his position and sexually abused various female players, in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics.”

However, following last month’s failed attempt to arrest Keram, no further developments have transpired.

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