On Monday, FIFA suspended the president of Haiti’s football federation Yves Jean-Bart for 90 days pending an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse.
Yves Jean-Bart, 73, categorically denies accusations leveled against him that he raped several young female footballers at a training facility outside Portau-Prince over the course of the past five years.
“In accordance with article 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 Haiti Football Federation (FHF), from all football-related activities at both national and international level, for a period of 90 days,” FIFA said on Monday in a statement.
“This sanction has been imposed in connection with ongoing investigations concerning Mr. Jean-Bart was notified of the decision today. The provisional sanction comes into force immediately.”
Haitian police have launched a probe into the allegations, first revealed late last month, and a judge has already summoned several federation employees to answer questions.
According to young women quoted into 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 conditions of anonymity that at least two underage players had to get abortions after Jean-Bart assaulted them.
“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 Defence of Human Rights (RNDDH) said.
Criticizing the code of silence that she says hangs over the sports industry, Ducena noted that “rumors of sexual bargains for football benefits have been circulating in the country for a long time.”
Yves Jean-Bart has led the country’s football federation for two decades. His re-election in February for a six-term was a mere formality – he ran unopposed.
When contacted by AFP for comment, he did not comment.