December 14 – FIFA has appointed a normalisation committee for the Haitian Football Association after it found “strong indications” that the federation’s disgraced former president Yves Jean-Bart is still exerting his influence despite being banned for life last month following multiple accusations of systematic sexual abuse of female players.
Jean-Bart, who served as president for 20 years, is also accused of “continuous interference” in FIFA’s investigation “that seeks to prevent and/or discourage victims and witnesses from giving testimony”.
In November FIFA’s 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. He was also fined CHF1 million for his reign of terror.
Jean-Bart has long denied the allegations that were first published by Britain’s Guardian newspaper in April. The following month he was temporarily suspended as FIFA began to investigate.
The Haitian FA says it plans to hold an election to find his successor in January but this is now highly unlikely after the bureau of the FIFA council appointed the normalisation committee after “multiple sources” confirmed Jean-Bart was still involved in “the running of its daily affairs”.
FIFA said that the normalisation committee, which has a mandate until November 30, 2022, will help run the FHF and organise and conduct new elections to “ensure a proper financial handover.”
The move to take over Haitian football “follows the recent opening of various ethics investigations against the FHF President, Yves Jean-Bart, as well as other FHF officials, for their involvement in acts of systematic sexual abuse against female football players, including minors,” FIFA said.
“In this respect, the Bureau took note that although some of these officials have already been provisionally banned and Mr Jean-Bart himself is now serving a life ban that was imposed by the independent Ethics Committee on 18 November 2020, multiple sources have asserted that there has been continuous interference from the suspended FHF President and his associates that seeks to prevent and/or discourage victims and witnesses from giving testimony in the ongoing investigations.
“Furthermore, the Bureau noted that there are strong indications that the FHF President is still exerting his influence within the FHF by being involved in the running of its daily affairs, despite his life ban.
“It also noted that the failures in governance structures that have facilitated the abuse of power at the FHF are severe and deeply rooted, and that a lengthy reform process of the FHF is now also needed. In view of these circumstances, the Bureau is of the opinion that it is very difficult for the FHF to carry out its operations, and that Fifa must now appoint a normalisation committee, which will also ensure that the ongoing ethics investigations may continue unimpeded.”
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