The Football Association of Zambia has denied receiving complaints from women’s team players alleging coach Bruce Mwape rubbed his hands over one of them prior to their World Cup victory over Costa Rica. These claims were reported in The Guardian newspaper.
Zambia’s football association has said it is “surprised” by misconduct claims made against women’s head coach.
One day after the Women’s World Cup concluded, allegations of misbehavior against Zambia coach Bruce Mwape have come to light. A newspaper report alleges that he inappropriately touched one of his players following a training session in New Zealand.
Mwape has not commented on these allegations, while FIFA confirmed to UPI that an investigation had begun into an official complaint filed with them. A FIFA spokesperson noted, “FIFA takes any allegation of misconduct extremely seriously.”
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Zambian young team has excelled on the pitch in New Zealand. Captain Barbra Banda, age 23 was the youngest participant at 23 in this tournament; most Copper Queens have played club football at BIIK Shymkent or Shanghai Shengli in China.
Allegations of sexual misconduct are an insult to players who have worked so hard to qualify for the World Cup and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Authorities in New Zealand and Fifa should investigate the allegations made and take appropriate measures.
Fifa has launched an investigation.
Fifa takes allegations of misconduct “extremely seriously”, with a clear process in place for anyone in football to report any incident. Fifa said it would investigate claims by The Guardian suggesting Mwape touched players inappropriately during training sessions.
FIFA has been rocked by allegations of bribery and racketeering since Sepp Blatter stepped down last year following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into possible corruption at their organization.
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The Copper Queens tied Spain and Japan before falling short against Germany at New Zealand tournament. Now back home, Mwape’s future remains unclear but FAZ noted in their statement that any allegations made against him could “tarnish the hard work done by both an excellent coach and team”. Furthermore, all training sessions for each of their games were being recorded by FIFA media crew, offering no evidence against such claims.
Zambia’s football association president Andrew Kamanga says the allegations are “an old story”
According to The Guardian newspaper, Bruce Mwape has been accused of sexual misconduct while coaching Zambia’s women’s team and his case was reported to FIFA last year. When reporters attempted to question Mwape prior to their World Cup match against Spain during a question and answer session with reporters before his match against Spain at this year’s World Cup tournament, one journalist inquired as to how these allegations had affected the Copper Queens image – however a Fifa media officer intervened and instructed reporters only to ask about matters related to football or tournament, effectively shutting down any further discussion related to Mwape or his case!
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Mwape and Zambia’s captain Barbra Banda both denied these allegations and stated they wouldn’t distract the team, however this incident has raised serious concerns over Fifa’s commitment to investigating such claims and has highlighted the necessity of football implementing safeguards which ensure players, coaches and administrators don’t become victims of sexual predators. Minky Worden of Human Rights Watch advised Sky News that FIFA implement “good governance measures to get sexual abusers out of football”.
Zambia’s women’s team were eliminated from the World Cup.
The Copper Queens were eliminated from the World Cup after losing both of their opening games against Spain and Japan and winning only one, against Costa Rica. Fifa confirmed they have received a complaint about this team and are investigating further.
Journalists for The Guardian newspaper raised allegations against Mwape, alleging he rubbed his hands over one of his player’s chests during training sessions prior to their final group game in New Zealand. FIFA stated they take any allegations of misconduct seriously and provide a process for anyone wishing to report such an incident.
The Zambian Football Association was taken aback when accused players or travelling delegation of false allegations made against their team, especially as all training sessions for this squad had been recorded and Fifa camera crews present during each training session.