March 31 – FIFA’s lifetime ban on former Haitian Football Federation vice-president and head of referees Rosnick Grant has been upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
FIFA investigated Grant (pictured) as part of a probe into his boss, ex-Haitian FA president Yves Jean-Bart, following appalling allegations of sexual harassment.
FIFA’s Ethics Committee identified Grant as one of the perpetrators of sexual abuse and the life ban in 2021.
Jean-Bart’s own ban was controversially overturned by CAS in February but Grant has not been so fortunate though the fine imposed on him was reduced to CHF 35,000 from CHF 100,000 due to the disproportionate salary conditions he was subject to in Haiti.
The court said “evidence against Rosnick Grant regarding the sexual abuse charges was sufficiently convincing” and confirmed his expulsion from the game. It was the lack of ‘convincing’ evidence that been the reason given for CAS overturning Jean-Bart’s ban.
In their own probe, FIFA’s ethics committee had investigated “acts of harassment, sexual abuse, threats and coercion against female referees” by Grant, who had been both vice-president and head of refereeing.
Three CAS judges “considered the testimony of a victim, who had travelled to Switzerland for the hearing, to be accurate, coherent and credible,” the court said.
At Grant’s two-day appeal hearing, “numerous witnesses were heard, some of whom benefited from special protective measures,” CAS added.
“The panel also noted the inconsistency and imprecision in the statements of the witnesses called by Rosnick Grant, most of whom stated, in a contradictory and unconvincing manner,” that the allegations against him were a conspiracy.
When FIFA banned Jean-Bart for life it described the sexual exploitation under his rule “inexcusable”. He, too, claimed there was a conspiracy against him.
Interestingly, Grant’s ban was upheld by three different judges from those who cleared Jean-Bart, putting into question the consistency of CAS deliberations.
FIFA, which has appealed the CAS ruling over Jean-Bart’s case to the Swiss federal court, had alleged he abused underage girls and habitually had sexual relationships with players during his 20 years in charge of the Caribbean island’s federation.
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