News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. Nov. 23, 2020: A Caribbean born football federation president has been banned for life after being found guilty of sexually harassing female players, including minors.
Haiti’s football federation president Yves Jean-Bart received the lifetime ban from the global soccer governing body, FIFA.
FIFA had provisionally suspended Jean-Bart in May while it investigated multiple allegations against him by victims, their friends and family members, detailing how he coerced girls into sex by threatening they would lose their places in national team programs. Jean-Bart has denied the allegations which became public on April 30, 2020 after several female footballers, including one who was forced to have an abortion, shared their stories with the Guardian.
The paper revealed several allegations, including from a player, one of Haiti’s rising stars who plays professionally, who claimed that a friend of Dadou tried to rape her when she was living at the center, in a suburb of the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince.
“She managed to get away from him and her parents know the situation,” said another source who is close to the player’s family. “But Dadou has tried everything to keep it quiet.”
One alleged victim told the Guardian. “He will see a nice girl who is attractive and he sends the lady to tell her that she is going to be thrown out of the centre. She starts crying and then the lady says: ‘The only way to resolve this is to speak to Dadou.’ At that moment, the young girl has no choice but to put up with the sexual abuse.”
“The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has found Yves Jean-Bart… guilty of having abused his position and sexually harassed and abused various female players, including minors, in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics,” FIFA said in a statement on its website. “In its decision, the adjudicatory chamber… sanctioned him with a life ban from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level.”
The 73-year-old Jean-Bart, who was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Haitian justice system on Thursday, was also fined one million Swiss francs ($1.10 million) by FIFA.
A spokesman for Jean-Bart said the former president would appeal against FIFA’s decision to sport’s highest court.
“FIFA’s decision is a travesty of justice and (a) purely political move to avoid further controversy and bad press following a series of high-profile scandals,” the spokesman said in a statement sent to Reuters.
“Unlike the Haitian judicial system that properly investigated and cleared Dr Jean-Bart of any wrongdoing, FIFA failed to review actual evidence which is why Dr Jean-Bart expects to be fully exonerated and reinstated after appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”
FIFA added in its statement that proceedings against other officials within Haiti’s football federation were still pending.
Jean-Bart, nicknamed Dadou, was the President of the Haitian Football Federation until October 20, 2020. He was re-elected to the position for fifth time in January 2016.
(Reuters contributed to this story.)