FIFA suspends Haiti’s Jean-Bart and open investigation into sexual abuse charges

May 26 – FIFA have suspended the president of Haiti’s football federation for 90 days pending an investigation into allegations he sexually abused teenage girls at the national training centre, built with a FIFA grant.

“In accordance with articles 84 and 85 of the FIFA Code of Ethics, the investigatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has provisionally banned Mr Yves Jean-Bart, President of the Haitian Football Federation (FHF), from all football-related activities at both national and international level, for a period of 90 days,” FIFA said in a statement on Monday.

“This sanction has been imposed in connection with ongoing investigations concerning Mr Jean-Bart.

“Mr Jean-Bart was notified of the decision today. The provisional sanction comes into force immediately.”

Jean-Bart has fiercely denied allegations, which first surfaced in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, that he coerced several young female players into having sex going back five years. Multiple allegations have been made against him by alleged victims, their friends and family members, detailing how he warned those who suffered that they would otherwise lose their places in national team programmes.

According to young women quoted in an article published by The Guardian in late April, Jean-Bart raped multiple underage players over the years.

Saying they had been pressured to remain silent, the alleged victims told the newspaper on condition of anonymity that at least two underage players had to get abortions after Jean-Bart assaulted them.

Jean-Bart, who has led the country’s football federation for two decades and is now in his sixth term, responded by telling  the Guardian there was “clearly a manoeuvre to destabilise the FHF, the character of the president and his family.”

But Haitian police have launched a probe into the allegations and a judge has already summoned several federation employees to answer questions.

“We think that this is a good decision by FIFA because we realized that Yves Jean-Bart and his cartel can overshadow any judicial investigation,” Marie-Rosy Auguste Ducena of the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights (RNDDH) was quoted as saying.

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