May 1 – The man who has run football in Haiti for the best part of two decades has been accused of sexual abuse in a damning report in Britain’s Guardian newspaper.
According to the paper, Yves Jean-Bart (pictured) – president of the Haitian football federation since 2000 and known by many as ‘Dadou’ – coerced young players at the country’s training complex, funded by FIFA and opened in 2001, into having sex.
He allegedly used the threat of expulsion from the centre to commit criminal acts within the past five years, multiple sources told The Guardian. He denies the charges.
“There is a lady who works there who puts pressure on the girls to have sex with Dadou,” an 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.”
Another alleged victim was reportedly impregnated by Jean-Bart and had an abortion at the age of 17.
“She was put under pressure not to talk,” a former player said. “Another of our best young players lost her virginity to Dadou when she was 17 in 2018 and also had to abort.
“These girls who live at the FIFA centre … it’s such a shame because they want to play for the country but if they speak about this situation they will be fired. They are hostages.”
In February, Jean-Bart was elected for the sixth time as president of the federation. He claims the accusations are “clearly a manoeuvre to destabilise the FHF, the character of the president and his family.”
“[There has] never been any complaint against the federation, nor against the staff engaged in our academy, nor against my person.”
“This kind of practice of sexual abuse is almost impossible in our camp centre given the physical structures, the principles of education and continuous awareness that we have put in place.
“I would not encourage such practices in Haitian football, much less in the centre which is under my responsibility. If there were such cases, I would encourage the victims to file a complaint with the federation and the judicial authorities of the country. We are ready, at the level of the federation, to support them.”
“Personally I am and I have been a non-violent man. I don’t understand how someone can make me look like an executioner to the point where families would feel intimidated by me.”
The centre was funded by FIFA’s development t programme but several witnesses told the Guardian the facility is in a dilapidated state after years of neglect despite having received up to $6 million.
“The last time I set foot there, I wanted to vomit,” a coach who used to work there regularly was quoted as saying. “It is despicable. Ten kids sleep in every room, there are no sheets, no clean toilets. It’s unimaginable. Where did the money go? The federation received millions, and they didn’t even buy sheets.”
In response to the allegations, a FIFA spokesperson told the Guardian it is “in discussion with the FHF about the improvements being made at the technical centre.
“In particular, we have noted that overall conditions and facilities at the centre have improved as a result of funding provided through the FIFA Forward programme and will continue to work with the FHF to ensure the right conditions and football infrastructure are provided for players at the centre.
“FIFA has put in place several measures to monitor and oversee the proper use of funds by confederations and member associations.”
Contact the writer of this story at email@example.com