FIFA acts on systemic sexual abuse in Gabon with first four officials banned

May 4 – FIFA have extended an investigation into alleged systematic sexual abuse of under-age players in Gabon by opening formal proceedings against four officials.

The four are Patrick Assoumou Eyi (pictured), the alleged main perpetrator who was coach of the national under-17 team until 2017; league official Serge Mombo and coaches Triphel Mabicka and Orphee Mickala.

The investigation was originally opened after British newspaper The Guardian reported statements by alleged victims in December. They said they were lured to Eyi’s home which he called the ‘Garden of Eden’.

Eyi, who used to be technical director of the Gabonese FA, was suspended by the country’s FA, and FIFA has extended that ban worldwide and provisionally to the other three officials.

“These sanctions have been imposed in connection with ongoing criminal investigations,” FIFA said in a statement.

FIFA ethics investigators received a complaint from the global players union FIFPRO, which has said abuse of underage boys in Gabon was “deeply embedded” there and was “an open secret that was not addressed for years.”

The union also alleged people “with close ties” to the Gabonese FA made threats to players and witnesses during the investigation.

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