Women's World Cup

FIFA investigates misconduct complaint involving Zambia Women's World Cup team

FIFA says it is investigating a complaint of alleged misconduct related to the Zambia team which played at the Women’s World Cup

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ZURICH (AP) — FIFA confirmed it is investigating a complaint of alleged misconduct related to the Zambia team which played at the Women's World Cup.

On Thursday, the British newspaper The Guardian published an allegation that Zambia players had seen coach Bruce Mwape touch a player inappropriately during a training session.

“FIFA takes any allegation of misconduct extremely seriously and has a clear process in place for anyone in football who wants to report an incident,” soccer's world governing body said in an e-mailed statement on Friday.

“We can confirm that a complaint has been received in relation to the Zambian Women’s National team and this is currently being investigated. We cannot provide further details regarding an ongoing investigation for obvious confidentiality reasons.”

Zambia exited the tournament — its first appearance at the Women's World Cup — after the group stage following losses to Spain and Japan and a win over Costa Rica.

The Football Association of Zambia said it had not received a complaint but would act if it received a complaint or evidence of wrongdoing.

“We wish to state the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has not received any such complaint from any of the players or officials in the delegation that traveled to the World Cup. It has therefore come as a surprise for us to hear of such alleged misconduct by the coach as reported in the said online publication,” FAZ general secretary Reuben Kamanga said in a statement on the FAZ's social media.

Kamanga added that the FAZ “would not hesitate to take disciplinary measures and act on any misconduct once we are in receipt of an official complaint or when presented with evidence pertaining to an alleged incident.”

Before the tournament, there was previously an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse in Zambian women’s soccer by coaches and officials. At the time, the Zambia FA and police confirmed an investigation into allegations but declined to name anyone implicated. Those allegations were also referred to FIFA, according to the FAZ.

At a press conference before Zambia's match against Spain, Spanish reporters referred to allegations against Mwape specifically, and the coach said he wouldn't consider resigning based on “rumors.”

Mwape did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent via the Zambian Federation on Friday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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