FIFA hands Haitian soccer President lifetime ban for sexual abuse

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Yves Jean-Bart, the Haitian soccer federation president was banned from the sport for life on Friday following accusations of systematic sexual abuse of female players.

 

The FIFA ethics committee found Jean-Bart guilty of “having abused his position and sexually harassed and abused various female players, including minors” from 2014 until this year.

 

The abuse is said to have happened at the country’s national training centre at Croix-des-Bouquets, with FIFA help fund. It was known as “The Ranch”.

 

Jean-Bart was also fined one million Swiss francs. But he has denied the allegations and is filing an appeal.

 

Jean-Bart has denied the allegations, which involve national team players.

 

The accusations were first revealed by British newspaper The Guardian in April.

An appeal will be filed at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, a spokesman for Jean-Bart said in a statement.

 

Haitian state authorities have been urged by the advocacy group to investigate the allegations and protect the players, who also said they were intimidated and threatened.

 

Three more Haitian federation officials have been suspended from work while FIFA investigators gather evidence, technical director Wilner Etienne, national center girls’ supervisor Nela Joseph, and assistant coach Yvette Félix.

 

Federation officials are accused of being “principals, accomplices or instigators” in the systematic abuse, FIFA said Friday.

 

Jean-Bart had been “actually investigated and cleared” by the judicial system in Haiti, his spokesman said.

 

Since the allegations were revealed, FIFA has pledged to work on safeguarding players in an agreement with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

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