March 2 – Haiti’s former FA president Yves Jean-Bart, whose lifetime FIFA ban from the sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month, says he is reclaiming his position.
Human rights bodies reacted with disbelief last month to the Court of Arbritration for Sport’s (CAS) decision that the 75-year-old’s ban had been “annulled due to insufficient evidence” while FIFA is considering lodging a rare appeal.
Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement via a virtual news conference could lead to a standoff with FIFA. He might think he can return to the presidency but the federation is currently being run by a FIFA imposed normalisation committee. Last November FIFA extended the mandate of the normalisation committee until 30 November 2023.
Jean-Bart always denied allegations that he had sexually abused female players as young as 14 and says he will file a lawsuit over alleged defamation against a freelance journalist who first reported the accusations against him in the British newspaper The Guardian.
“He is going on the offensive. Let it be known,” his attorney Stanley Gaston said.
Gaston added that Jean-Bart is fighting cancer and that it’s not clear when he would return to Haiti, noting that all business would be conducted virtually.
Another attorney, Claude Ramoni, stressed that Jean-Bart is no longer suspended, and that it’s his right to continue serving as president of Haiti’s soccer federation.
“He was elected as president for four years, and his term has not ended,” Ramoni said, adding that FIFA should recognise him as such. “They have to accept it.”
Jean-Bart, who had led Haiti’s soccer federation since 2000, also announced that he would create new protections to prevent sexual abuse, including establishing an ethics commission.
“I have to thank God for the support and the strength to fight all the allegations over the 20 years from my enemies in Haiti and overseas,” he said. “They continue to try to beat me by all means.”
See: CAS sheds light on Yves-Bart decision. A win for sports law or a catastrophic failure by FIFA?
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