Eoin Morgan has not closed the door on a potential Cricket World Cup call-up for opener Alex Hales as England battle injuries to their key batsmen.

Hales was included in his country's preliminary squad but failed to make the final cut having been axed in April due to a suspension imposed for what his spokesperson described as an "off-field incident".

England look primed to make the semi-finals without Hales, having won three of their four group games so far, but injuries to Jason Roy and Morgan have given the host nation fitness concerns.

Roy will miss Tuesday's clash with Afghanistan and Friday's encounter against Sri Lanka and, though Morgan (back) could feature in the first of those games, the skipper admitted there have been conversations about potential call-ups.

And the possibility of Hales being included has not been ruled out.

"If [national selector] Ed Smith came to myself and [head coach] Trevor [Bayliss] and said he felt that Alex was the best option, we would have to assess how that would sit in the changing room and the stigma it would bring with Alex coming back in," Morgan told the BBC's Test Match Special.

Ashley Giles, the managing director of England men's team, had said "the door isn't closed" for Hales, and the 30-year-old recently revealed he hoped to be involved in next year's Twenty20 World Cup in Australia.

Yet, speaking last month, Morgan claimed Hales had "clearly demonstrated a lack of respect" for the team's "values".

The England captain did reveal on Monday that the injury worries had led to discussions about potential call-ups should the problems prove serious.

"When we selected the squad, we did have conversations, sort of underlying replacements for particular players," said Morgan. 

"So they are always ongoing in the background and I'm not involved in a lot of them. I'm sort of quite focused on the group and task at hand. But there are always conversations going on in the background.

"I think the other day, certainly, it was a matter of getting the two scans back and seeing what process we could go through to get us both back playing as quickly as possible, and once we could get [an] indication when that might be, we would cross that bridge."

England will be without opener Jason Roy for Tuesday's Cricket World Cup duel with Afghanistan, but the hosts will remain confident they can boost their semi-final hopes at Old Trafford.

Eoin Morgan's side have made a purposeful start to the tournament on home soil and demonstrated why they top the ICC ODI rankings in Friday's eight-wicket thrashing of West Indies.

It is in stark contrast to the fortunes of their next opponents, who are languishing at the foot of the table without a point from their opening four matches.

After previous concerns over the likes of Jos Buttler and Mark Wood, managing injuries has been England's biggest obstacle.

While Morgan expects to shake off the back problem which forced him off against West Indies, Roy has been ruled out for the next two matches with a hamstring tear and his place will be taken by James Vince.

England coped with those setbacks to deliver a dominant victory against a dangerous opponent, showing the flexibility at their disposal. They will be confident of achieving a similar outcome in Manchester.

 

TOURNAMENT SO FAR

It has been an impressive start from England, winning three of their opening four matches with South Africa, Bangladesh and West Indies all dispatched. Anything but a place in the semi-finals would be a disappointment.

Afghanistan sit bottom and their task has been made more onerous following the loss during the tournament of wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad. They did give Sri Lanka a scare in Cardiff, however, until eventually being beaten by 34 runs on the DLS method.

WHAT THEY SAID

England skipper Morgan: "I would like to think in a couple of games so far we've been red hot favourites and underlining our preparation is the humility and the gratitude with which we go about things, and that's an important part of trying to beat teams like Afghanistan. They are a strong side. I said previous to the tournament, they will beat teams in this World Cup. They haven't managed to do that yet. So that makes it a tougher challenge."

Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib: "We are trying to do our best in the matches, but if I look at my team, I didn't like how we played last time [in the nine-wicket defeat to South Africa]. England is a strong side, it's a home side, so everything is on England's side. Afghanistan don't play home cricket a lot. We are used to it but it's a tough game."

OPTA FACTS

- England and Afghanistan have met just once before in an ODI; that clash coming at the 2015 Cricket World Cup with England winning by nine wickets. 

- England have won eight of their last 10 ODIs at Old Trafford (L2), with their only defeats in that time coming against Australia.

- Moeen Ali has taken more ODI wickets at Old Trafford than any other spinner, with his eight scalps at the venue coming at an average of 13.5. 

James Vince will replace Jason Roy at the top of the order for England's Cricket World Cup match against Afghanistan on Tuesday, captain Eoin Morgan has confirmed.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced on Monday Roy had suffered a hamstring tear and will miss the forthcoming game at Old Trafford and Friday's encounter versus Sri Lanka at Headingley.

Asked at a pre-match news conference whether Hampshire batsman Vince would step in as an opener, Morgan replied: "Yes, he is replacing Jason."

Morgan confirmed he will be able to play in Manchester after a back spasm prevented him from batting in last Friday's eight-wicket win over West Indies and he remains similarly confident over Roy's prospects in the tournament.

Next Tuesday's showdown with Australia at Lord's represents the next time at which the Surrey man might be available.

"I certainly believe Jason will play again in this tournament," he said.

"He's going to be assessed continuously over the next few weeks.

"Absolutely [I think he will play again] - if not Australia then the following game."

Having won three of their four matches, hosts England lie fourth in the round-robin standings, with the top four from the 10-team group progressing to the semi-finals.

Jason Roy will miss England's next two Cricket World Cup matches after an MRI scan confirmed the opening batsman has sustained a hamstring tear.

Roy pulled up while fielding during England's eight-wicket win over West Indies last week and must now sit out Tuesday's fixture against Afghanistan at Old Trafford and Friday's Headingley clash with Sri Lanka.

In a statement, the England and Wales cricket board said Roy "will be reassessed on an ongoing basis this week".

There is better news regarding captain Eoin Morgan, who similarly did not bat against the Windies after suffering a back spasm.

Morgan's condition has "settled down" and he will be monitored before a decision is made on his involvement in the Afghanistan match.

James Vince is poised to replace Roy in the England XI, with all-rounder Moeen Ali an alternative option at the top of the order.

The Surrey batsman bludgeoned a stunning 153 as England thrashed Bangladesh by 106 runs in Cardiff in their third outing of the competition, having opened his campaign with a half-century versus South Africa.

A best-case scenario for the hosts would see Roy return for next week's showdown with Australia at Lord's and he is likely to enjoy every chance to make a full recovery as any player replaced can only return to a World Cup squad in the event of one of their team-mates also pulling up injured.

With Alex Hales out of contention, Joe Denly would appear the most likely replacement for Roy if England are forced to go down that route.

Having won three of their four matches, England sit fourth in the points table.

South Africa may have to win all of their remaining group-stage matches to earn a place in the Cricket World Cup semi-finals and Faf du Plessis' side face two tricky challenges this week.

The Proteas lost their first three games at this tournament, belatedly getting a point on the board with a washout against West Indies before picking up their first win thanks to a comfortable triumph over Afghanistan last week.

But things certainly do not get any easier for South Africa over the coming seven days, as they take on an unbeaten New Zealand and a mercurial Pakistan, who desperately need a win themselves following Sunday's resounding defeat to fierce rivals India.

Virat Kohli's side look the strongest all-round outfit in the competition and they should pick up another victory against Afghanistan, who also face hosts England in a tough week for the only team yet to claim a point.

 

FIXTURES

Monday 17 June:  West Indies v Bangladesh (Taunton) - 1030 BST start

Tuesday 18 June:  England v Afghanistan (Old Trafford) - 1030

Wednesday 19 June:  New Zealand v South Africa (Edgbaston) - 1030

Thursday 20 June:  Australia v Bangladesh (Trent Bridge) - 1030

Friday 21 June:  England v Sri Lanka (Headingley) - 1030

Saturday 22 June:  India v Afghanistan (the Rose Bowl) - 1030, West Indies v New Zealand (Old Trafford) - 1330

Sunday 23 June:  Pakistan v South Africa (Lord's) - 1030

 

THE WEEK'S BIG GAME

With over half their matches played and only three points to their name, South Africa can ill-afford any slip-ups. Their first assignment of the week comes against the Black Caps on Wednesday, in a repeat of the thrilling semi-final from four years ago that saw New Zealand squeeze through. If the Proteas can dish out a first defeat of the tournament to Kane Williamson's side, they will go into Sunday's clash against an erratic Pakistan with renewed hope of securing a top-four finish.

STANDINGS

1. Australia - 8pts from 5 games, Net Run Rate +0.812
2. New Zealand - 7pts from 4 games, NRR +2.163
3. India - 7pts from 4 games, NRR +1.029
4. England - 6pts from 4 games, NRR +1.557
5. Sri Lanka - 4pts from 5 games, NRR -1.778
6. West Indies - 3pts from 4 games, NRR +0.666
7. South Africa - 3pts from 5 games, NRR -0.208
8. Bangladesh - 3pts from 4 games, NRR -0.714
9. Pakistan - 3pts from 5 games, NRR -1.933
10. Afghanistan - 0pts from 4 games, NRR -1.638

 

LEADING RUN-SCORERS

1: Aaron Finch (Aus) - 343
2: Rohit Sharma (Ind) - 319
3: David Warner (Aus) - 281

 

LEADING WICKET-TAKERS

=1: Mohammad Amir (Pak), Mitchell Starc (Aus) - 13
2: Pat Cummins (Aus) - 11

Imran Tahir has "single-handedly" made South Africa a strong team in the past two years, according to captain Faf du Plessis.

Spinner Tahir claimed figures of 4-29 from his seven overs as the Proteas claimed their first win at this year's Cricket World Cup by resoundingly beating Afghanistan by nine wickets in Cardiff.

The 40-year-old, who will step down from international cricket after the competition, tore through Afghanistan after the second rain delay, helping restrict them to 125 on a pitch that was not conducive to spin.

"Tahir has probably single-handedly made us a very strong team for the last two years with his ability to get wickets at any stage, his control, so much variation," said Du Plessis after the match.

"Even on a pitch like today when the boundaries are really small and the ball's not spinning much, somehow he still finds a way. That's the difference between the good ones and the great."

The Proteas laboured in reaching a DLS-amended target of 127, with Quinton de Kock scoring 68 off 72 and the struggling Hashim Amla requiring 83 deliveries to make an unbeaten 41 in their 28.4 overs before getting over the line thanks to a huge Andile Phehlukwayo six.

"Naturally, Quinton always plays quite freely but it was important for him to see off the new ball," said Du Plessis. "We needed a 60 or 70-run partnership and we could work on the run rate later.

"It was important for Amla to get among the runs. The next four games, net run rate is not going to play a massive role if you win those games. We need Hashim to score runs for us, so I'm just happy for him to get a not out and get some runs on the board."

Afghanistan replaced Najibullah Zadran, who posted scores of 51 and 43 in their opening two World Cup matches, with Asghar Afghan for the match at Sophia Gardens.

Captain Gulbadin Naib lamented his team's failure to correct their errors from previous matches and suggested Najibullah could return to the line-up for Tuesday's meeting with England at Old Trafford after Afghan was out for a duck.

"We need to play much better cricket. We did well in the opening overs but we repeated the same mistakes again," said Naib.

"We have a lot of batsmen with Rashid Khan coming in at nine, but we need the lower-middle order to push the scoreboard.

"Asghar is a senior player, that's why we gave him a chance. Najib is an outstanding batsman, we'll have him in the team in the upcoming matches."

Quinton de Kock scored 68 as South Africa eased to their first victory of the Cricket World Cup, hammering Afghanistan by nine wickets in Cardiff. 

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has challenged his team to save their Cricket World Cup skins by taking ownership of a group-stage crisis.

The 34-year-old said hope alone would get the Proteas nowhere and instructed his slow-starting stars to search within themselves and pull out a string of performances.

Defeats to England, Bangladesh and India - and a rained-off clash with West Indies - have left South Africa in a dire position and with Du Plessis demanding wins from all five of their remaining matches.

On Saturday they face Afghanistan in Cardiff, and another off-day could inflict a fatal blow to their semi-final hopes.

Du Plessis said he has experienced no greater challenge in his tenure as captain, and his man-management skills have been put to an extreme test.

"It's just been checking in with every guy individually ... and then just making sure that I make it clear to them that there needs to be purpose in what's coming up. You can't just hope for things to change," Du Plessis said on Friday.

"Hope's a very dangerous thing for me; you either make it happen [or you don't], the fact that you need to get yourself out of that space as quick as possible.

"And just finding different keys and different players where I feel that they can lead better in different departments, where they can take more responsibility, where they can take more ownership.

"So it's about trying to unlock players' best that is lying somewhere underneath them. Hopefully we can see a little bit of that coming out in the next few games."

South Africa will be hoping for clear skies in Cardiff and to find the display that earns a first victory, with New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia their remaining opponents.

"From a challenge, myself as a leader, this has been right up there," Du Plessis said. "But I suppose that's what the last two, three years of captaining this side has prepared me for.

"Whether it's good situations or bad situations, you try to mature as much as you can as a captain to try and be ready for when it's really, really tough because then the team looks to the leaders in the side.

"So it's a hard time, but it's also a time that I'm really owning up to the fact that I need to step up and make sure that I lead the team in a time when they need me."

Faf du Plessis has told his South Africa team they have no wiggle room following three World Cup defeats and must win their five remaining group games to stay in the hunt.

Pre-tournament ambitions have been shaken by losses against England, Bangladesh and India, and the Proteas will face the only other side without a win so far when they tackle Afghanistan on Saturday.

Proteas captain Du Plessis said a late decision would be made on the availability of pace bowler Lungi Ngidi, who has been sidelined by a hamstring injury.

He earmarked Rashid Khan as the big bowling danger in the Afghanistan ranks, calling him "probably the best leg spinner in the world in T20 cricket" and telling his batsmen to play a careful game and "annihilate that threat".

Du Plessis said his players must put early defeats out of their mind, adding: "If we carry those ghosts of the last week with us, then it's going to be tough to get out of the hole."

South Africa's semi-final hopes look bleak, and Afghanistan would love to add to their problems by causing an upset in Cardiff. Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib indicated Rashid should be fit to play after recovering from being hit on the head by a bouncer from New Zealand's Lockie Ferguson last Saturday in Taunton.

TOURNAMENT SO FAR

South Africa have had an awful time of things, with injuries biting and players under-performing. Their only point has come from the rained-off match against West Indies, who made the Proteas top order look brittle again before rain came in Southampton. Afghanistan came in hope of making a positive impression, dreaming of the semi-finals. A couple of wins against the more established nations must now be their moderated ambition, and they will fancy rattling South Africa.

WHAT THEY SAID

Faf du Plessis (South Africa captain): "Everyone has written the team off. So there's our backs against the wall as a team. So hopefully that will allow the guys to come out and play the way we want them to play and the way we can play. And I believe if we truly do that we'll be a dangerous team. But we haven't fully unlocked the potential that we do have in our side."

Gulbadin Naib (Afghanistan captain): "If you look at our last three games and how we played, we didn't click in any department. We just need a good start to the match or to the innings. South Africa also lost three games. They're also struggling to make a good start. It's going to be a good game for cricket, I'm hoping. If we play good cricket, obviously in the end you will have a good result."

OPTA FACTS

- This will be the first match between South Africa and Afghanistan in ODI cricket. They have met on the international stage twice in the T20 format, with the Proteas winning both matches.

- South Africa have three losses and a no-result from their first four matches at this World Cup. A win on Saturday and they will be in the exact same position after five games as the 1992 Pakistan team who went on to win the tournament.

- Hashmatullah Shahidi needs 54 runs to reach 1,000 in ODIs, and he would become the ninth Afghanistan player to reach the milestone. He heads into this match after scoring 59 against New Zealand last time out.

- South Africa spinner Imran Tahir is set to bowl in an ODI for the 100th time. He has bowled 180 balls in this World Cup and is yet to be hit for a six. He is the only spinner to have bowled 100 or more balls and not be hit for a six at the tournament.

The net bowler hospitalised after being hit by a shot from Australia batsman David Warner has walked for the first time since the incident.

Local cricketer Jaykishan Plaha was helping Australia in the build-up to their Cricket World Cup clash with India at The Oval on Saturday when a drive from Warner hit him in the head.

The training session was delayed for approximately 20 minutes as the bowler was attended to by Australia's medical staff and paramedics, with the batsman showing visible signs of distress.

Captain Aaron Finch confirmed the man had been taken to hospital following the incident, describing Warner, 32, as "shaken up" after what had happened.

Fortunately, Cricket Australia later confirmed that the individual, who was monitored for signs of concussion, had been cleared of major damage by a CT scan.

And Plaha revealed on Monday that he had taken his first steps, thanking cricket supporters from all over the world for their messages of support.

As well as posting a picture of him smiling on Instagram, he wrote: "Finally got my first walk in - on the road to recovery.

"Glad to be recovering well so far. Thank you to everyone who has supported me, thank you for all the prayers around the world, means a lot to me."

Warner was playing in the match in which compatriot Phillip Hughes suffered a fatal blow to the head while batting in 2014.

Mohammad Shahzad has threatened to quit after claiming he was wrongly withdrawn from Afghanistan's Cricket World Cup squad.

The wicketkeeper-batsman was replaced by Ikram Ali Khil after being ruled out of the rest of the tournament with a knee injury last week.

Shahzad retired hurt in a warm-up game against Pakistan before featuring in the defeats to Australia and Sri Lanka.

Afghanistan Cricket Board chief executive Asadullah Khan told ESPN Cricinfo Shahzad was not fit enough to play any further part, but the 32-year-old says insists that was not the case.

"I went to a doctor in London and he drained my knee of some fluids, gave me a pill and said that I could play after resting for two-three days," Shahzad said after flying home.

"I had a practice session, bowled, batted, and had a keeping session... had lunch with my team-mates, and then sat down in the team bus only to see the ICC press release on my phone saying I am out of the World Cup. That was the moment when I found out that I was unfit.

"I asked the manager, who asked me to put the phone in my pocket and talk to the doctor. The doctor looked at me helplessly and said he couldn't do anything.

"I don't know what is the problem. If they have a problem, they should let me know. If they don't want me to play, I will quit cricket.

"I don't see myself playing anymore. It's a dream to play the World Cup. I was removed from the 2015 World Cup [due to a lack of fitness] and now this one as well. I am going to consult with friends and family. My heart isn't in cricket anymore."

Pakistan face two huge matches at the Cricket World Cup this week, including a meeting with their biggest rivals.

Having upset England, Pakistan saw their match against Sri Lanka abandoned, making their potential passage to the semi-finals more difficult.

They will face two big tests this week, firstly against Australia, before taking on India in a highly anticipated clash in Manchester.

Omnisport takes a look at what the next week has in store, along with the standings and key statistics from the tournament to date.

 

FIXTURES

Monday 10 June: South Africa v West Indies (Rose Bowl, Southampton) - 1030 BST start

Tuesday 11 June: Bangladesh v Sri Lanka (County Ground, Bristol) - 1030

Wednesday 12 June: Australia v Pakistan (County Ground, Taunton) - 1030

Thursday 13 June: India v New Zealand (Trent Bridge, Nottingham) - 1030

Friday 14 June: England v West Indies (Rose Bowl, Southampton) - 1030

Saturday 15 June: Sri Lanka v Australia (The Oval, London) - 1030, South Africa v Afghanistan (Sophia Gardens, Cardiff) - 1330

Sunday 16 June: India v Pakistan (Old Trafford, Manchester) - 1030

 

THE WEEK'S BIG GAME

The end of the week is promising to provide one of the biggest matches of the tournament. Rivals India and Pakistan will meet at Old Trafford in Manchester in what looks like a blockbuster encounter. While both will undoubtedly want a win, it could be nearing desperation time for Pakistan, who have one victory from three games and also face Australia this week.

STANDINGS

1. New Zealand - 6pts from 3 games, Net Run Rate +2.163
2. England - 4pts from 3 games, NRR +1.307
3. India - 4pts from 2 games, NRR +0.539
4. Australia - 4pts from 3 games, NRR +0.483
5. Sri Lanka - 3pts from 3 games, NRR -1.517
6. Pakistan - 3pts from 3 games, NRR -2.412
7. West Indies - 2pts from 2 games, NRR +2.054
8. Bangladesh - 2pts from 3 games, NRR -0.714
9. South Africa - 0pts from 3 games, NRR -0.952
10. Afghanistan - 0pts from 3 games, NRR -1.493

 

LEADING RUN-SCORERS

1: Shakib Al Hasan (Ban) - 260
2: Jason Roy (Eng) - 215
3: Jos Buttler (Eng) - 185

 

LEADING WICKET-TAKERS

1: Lockie Ferguson (NZ) - 8
=2: Matt Henry (NZ), Mitchell Starc (Aus) - 7

Kane Williamson praised Jimmy Neesham and Lockie Ferguson for setting up New Zealand's emphatic seven-wicket Cricket World Cup win over Afghanistan.

The Black Caps made it three wins out of three in the tournament in Taunton on Saturday after Afghanistan were skittled out for 172.

Neesham (5-31) claimed his maiden five-wicket ODI haul and Ferguson took 4-37 to become the leading wicket-taker in the World Cup with eight dismissals.

Captain Williamson then struck an unbeaten 79 and Ross Taylor made 48 after Aftab Alam (3-45) had got rid of Martin Guptill off the first ball of the innings.

Williamson reflected on a job well done on a painful day for Afghanistan, who were without Rashid Khan in the field after he was struck by a rapid short ball from Ferguson.

"It was an outstanding win. They have a few world-class players, they got off to a very good start, but we stuck to our plans, [it's] great to see the way the seamers came back," said the skipper.

"Lockie is a fast bowler, his role is to bowl fast. It doesn't need much encouragement to get him up. He's made a big difference because of the left-arm right-arm combination.

"Neesham was superb as well, there was pace and movement and he used the conditions well. My form has been alright, just doing a job for the team.

"We've now chased three games in a row. It's great to win every game you play. We've got a couple of days off, which the guys will look forward to before we play India in a few days' time."

Jimmy Neesham claimed his maiden five-wicket ODI haul and Rashid Khan took a nasty blow to the head as New Zealand beat Afghanistan by seven wickets in the Cricket World Cup.

The Black Caps maintained their perfect record in the tournament with an emphatic victory at Taunton on Saturday.

Afghanistan were unable to pull off a shock, all-rounder Neesham taking 5-31 and Lockie Ferguson 4-37 as they collapsed to 172 all out.

Rashid played no further part as a precautionary measure after being struck on the helmet by a short delivery from Ferguson, the ball bouncing down and striking his stumps.

Aftab Alam removed Martin Guptill from the first ball of New Zealand's run chase and took 3-45, but captain Kane Williamson struck an unbeaten 79 to get his side home with 107 balls to spare.

Ross Taylor also made 48 in a comfortable win for a Black Caps side who are on course for the semi-finals.

 

What does it mean? Afghanistan could be in for more pain

Rashid declared that Afghanistan would not fear any side ahead of the tournament.

They have fallen short so far, though, and a lack of runs has seen them only making in excess of 200 in one of their three matches - which ended in a seven-wicket loss to Australia.

Having lost wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad for the rest of the World Cup with a knee injury, they will be hoping Rashid is passed fit to take on South Africa next weekend.

 

Neesham burst puts the brakes on

Afghanistan made an encouraging start after being put in by Kane Williamson, with Hazratullah Zazai (34) dropped by Taylor and Colin de Grandhomme in an aggressive knock.

The introduction of Neesham took the wind out of their sails, the all-rounder taking three wickets in a four-over burst as Afghanistan slumped from 66 without loss to 70-4.

Afghanistan totally lost their way, the runs drying up before heavy rain took the players off on more than one occasion.

 

Rashid shaken by rapid Ferguson 

Ferguson also came to the party as New Zealand tore through a fragile Afghanistan middle order.

The hostile quick became the leading wicket-taker in the tournament with eight scalps and also brought Rashid's participation to a painful end.

Rashid was left shaken after being rattled on the helmet by a rising delivery from Ferguson, who ended the innings by snaring Hashmatullah Shahidi (59) after the number four had struck nine boundaries in a patient knock.

 

Williamson untroubled after early scare

Aftab came into the side for his first appearance of the tournament and could not have wished for a better start with the ball, getting Guptill caught at point.

The seamer also saw the back of Colin Munro (22), to leave the Black Caps 41-2, and cleaned up Taylor with a yorker.

Williamson was untroubled, though, finding the boundary on nine occasions in what was his first half-century of the tournament.

The former president of the Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF) has been banned from all football activities for life by the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA's independent ethics committee, following allegations of sexual abuse.

FIFA said its investigation into Keramuudin Karim concerned allegations of "repeated sexual abuse" from at least five female Afghan players.

On Saturday, a day after the Women's World Cup got under way in France, FIFA confirmed it had found Karim "guilty of having abused his position".

In a statement, world football's governing body said: "The adjudicatory chamber found that Mr Karim had breached article 23 [protection of physical and mental integrity] and article 25 [abuse of position] of the FIFA Code of Ethics".

In addition to receiving a life ban from all football-related activities at both national and international level, Karim has been fined one million Swiss Francs (£794,849).

Neither Karim nor the AFF were immediately available for comment. In a previous statement, the AFF said it "vigorously rejects the false accusations made with regard to the AFF's women's national team".

Khalida Popal, a former player for the Afghanistan women's national football team, responded to Karim's ban by hailing a successful "first step".

In a Twitter post, Popal wrote: "Football is not a place for abuse, we shouldn't let the abuse culture [remain] in football. Women should be protected in the system."

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