International world football governing body, FIFA, has banned Yves Jean-Bart, the president of the Haiti Football Federation, from all football-related activities and fined him 1m Swiss francs (£827,000) after its ethics committee found him guilty of having abused his position and sexually harassed and abused female players, including minors.
Jean-Bart, known as “Dadou”, was first accused of coercing several players at the Fifa centre, the Centre Technique National in Croix-des-Bouquets, into having sex with him in an investigation carried out.
Then numerous sources involved with the centre, including alleged victims and their families came out and made more allegations.
In May, Jean-Bart, was provisionally suspended by FIFA while the organization’s ethics committee carried out an internal investigation into the allegations. On November 18th, FIFA agreed that banning Jean-Bart was the best solution.
FIFA’s ethics committee claims that Jean-Bart had “abused his position and sexually harassed and abused various female players, including minors, in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics.”
In a statement this weekend, FIFA said Jean-Bart was sanctioned “with a life ban from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level.”
He also was ordered to pay a fine of 1 million Swiss francs, or nearly $1.1 million United States dollars.
“The aforementioned ethics proceedings are part of an extensive investigation concerning Mr. Jean-Bart, as well as other officials within the FHF, who were identified as having allegedly been involved (as principals, accomplices or instigators) in acts of systematic sexual abuse against female football players between 2014 and 2020. The proceedings are still pending with respect to other FHF officials,” FIFA said.
Jean-Bart has rejected FIFA’s ban saying he’ll challenge the ruling in court.
Jean-Bart’s spokesman Evan Nierman said his client would appeal the decision;
“FIFA’s decision is a travesty of justice and purely political move to avoid further controversy and bad press following a series of high-profile scandals. Unlike the Haitian judicial system that properly investigated and cleared Dr. Jean-Bart of any wrongdoing, FIFA failed to review actual evidence which is why Dr. Jean-Bart expects to be fully exonerated and reinstated after appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.” he said in a statement.
According to reports, the Haitian judge Emilio Accime, who was leading the criminal investigation by the Haitian government into Jean-Bart’s conduct, decided to stop proceedings and opt to close the case, due to a ‘lack of evidence.
Accime stated in his ruling that after he had reviewed “documents we received from different parties,” he found that, “we cannot continue the investigation against Dr. Yves Jean-Bart.” without giving specific reasons for his decision to stop the investigation.
Accime said the police brigade that was asked to find victims of the abuse, the Brigade for the Protection of Minors, reported back to the court that they couldn’t find any.
“The decision of the Haitian judge in the investigation of the case of sexual abuse and exploitation accusing the President of the Haitian Football Federation, is a real shame for the Haitian judicial system,”
Patrice Florvilus, a lawyer representing Kri Fanm Ayiti (KRIFA), one of the women’s rights groups that have accused Jean-Bart of sexual abuse, told CNN.
According to Florvilus, one of his clients was summoned to give evidence on November 23, but the judge closed the case before the client had a chance to give her testimony.
On Saturday, the US embassy in Haiti responded to FIFA’s decision in a tweet, saying “FIFA found Yves Jean-Bart guilty of sexual harassment and abuse of female players, including minors. We regret the Haitian government’s investigation did not result in charges.”