(Reuters) - FIFA has banned Haiti’s football federation president Yves Jean-Bart for life after finding him guilty of sexually harassing and abusing multiple female players, including minors, global soccer’s governing body said on Friday.
FIFA provisionally suspended Jean-Bart in May while it investigated multiple allegations against him by victims, their friends and family members detailing how he coerced girls into sex by threatening they would lose their places in national team programmes. Jean-Bart has denied the allegations.
"The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has found Yves Jean-Bart... guilty of having abused his position and sexually harassed and abused various female players, including minors, in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics," FIFA said in a statement on its website here.
“In its decision, the adjudicatory chamber... sanctioned him with a life ban from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level.”
The 73-year-old Jean-Bart, who was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Haitian justice system on Thursday, was also fined one million Swiss francs ($1.10 million) by FIFA.
A spokesman for Jean-Bart said the former president would appeal against FIFA’s decision to sport’s highest court.
“FIFA’s decision is a travesty of justice and (a) purely political move to avoid further controversy and bad press following a series of high-profile scandals,” the spokesman said in a statement sent to Reuters.
“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.”
FIFA added in its statement that proceedings against other officials within Haiti’s football federation were still pending.
($1 = 0.9097 Swiss francs)
Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris
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