The president of the Haitian soccer federation, Yves Jean-Bart, was banned for life by FIFA and fined more than a million dollars on Friday.
Jean-Bart, 73, was found guilty by FIFA of abusing his position and having sexually harassed and abused several female players, including minors, ruled the independent Ethics Committee of the governing body of world football.
Jean-Bart, who was acquitted by the Haitian justice system early Friday, reacted through a statement in which he described the FIFA decision as “a parody of justice and a purely political measure.” He said the body “did not review the actual evidence.” In making public their decision to dismiss the case against Jean-Bart, the Haitian authorities said in a five-page document that “no evidence or the name (of the victim) was found.”
On the contrary, the FIFA Ethics Committee said that it had banned Jean-Bart for life “from all activities related to football (administrative, sports or any other) both nationally and internationally.”
He was fined one million Swiss francs ($ 1.1 million; 925,000 euros). He said the investigation referred to “acts of systematic sexual abuse against female soccer players between 2014 and 2020” and said the proceedings were still pending from other officials in the Haitian federation. FIFA’s ruling was hailed by the global players’ union FIFPro, calling it a “historic decision made possible by the extraordinary courage of the survivors, victims and witnesses who came forward.”
“Jean-Bart’s lifetime ban can only be the beginning,” said FIFPro Secretary General Jonas Baer-Hoffmann. “We will continue to support FIFA investigations to ensure that all who abused their positions in Haiti are held accountable.”
The investigation followed a report by British newspaper The Guardian in April that Jean-Bart sexually abused young footballers at the country’s national training center. The accusations led to the opening of the criminal investigation in Haiti, as well as the suspension of Jean-Bart by FIFA on May 25.
Decision chamber of the independent Ethics Committee sanctions Yves Jean-Bart: https://t.co/xpfagKTDV3
– FIFA Media (@fifamedia) November 20, 2020
According to the girls and former officials cited by The Guardian in April and August articles, Jean-Bart raped many underage female players. FIFA suspended two other Haitian soccer officials, Nella Joseph, a women’s soccer supervisor at the training center, and Wilner Etienne, technical director of the Haitian soccer federation.