Zambia coach Bruce Mwape is under investigation by FIFA after he was accused of rubbing a player’s chest at the Women’s World Cup.
A complaint was made to the governing body of world football about the 63-year-old after the African nation claimed their first-ever World Cup victory win a 3-1 win over Costa Rica on Monday (July 31).
According to The Guardian, the alleged incident took place following a training session last Friday (July 28). A source close to the squad said several players saw Mwape rubbing his hands over the chest of one of their team-mates.
Those who witnessed the incident were said to have considered reporting it immediately but waited until after their campaign had concluded out of fear that they would not be selected, with Zambia already eliminated after successive 5-0 defeats to Japan and Spain.
Mwape was also the subject of sexual misconduct allegations before the tournament got underway in Australia and New Zealand, claims which he denied.
A player who wished to remain anonymous told The Guardian last month: “If he [Mwape] wants to sleep with someone, you have to say yes. It’s normal that the coach sleeps with the players in our team.”
He was questioned about those previous allegations ahead of Zambia’s second group game, but a FIFA media officer stepped in and said: “I’ll ask you to restrict the questions to the football and to the tournament only.”
Regarding the new claim, a spokesperson said: “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.
“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.
“Anyone who wishes to report allegations or information related to abuse in football can do so via FIFA’s confidential reporting platform, with all information that is submitted to FIFA handled in the strictest of confidence.
“In addition, FIFA offers support and assistance to ensure the safety of those who report a safeguarding issue, including witnesses who come forward and give testimony in FIFA judicial cases.
“Where guilt is established, FIFA takes the strongest possible sanctions, including removing people from the game for life. Our track record demonstrates this.”