A year after similar accusations led to the ouster of a top soccer official in Afghanistan, global soccer faces calls to do more to protect athletes.
A year after the ouster of the head of soccer in Afghanistan over accusations that he sexually abused female players, global soccer is facing another serious case that is raising questions over its commitment to protecting vulnerable athletes.
Female soccer players, including some who played in Haiti’s national soccer program, and their family members have accused senior officials of the sport, including the national federation’s longtime president, of coercing the players into having sex.
Law enforcement authorities in Haiti are investigating the case. The federation’s president, Yves Jean-Bart, has denied the accusations, which first surfaced in an article in The Guardian in April.
The accusations are a particular blow to FIFA, global soccer’s governing body, not only because it had promised measures to safeguard athletes after the case in Afghanistan, but also because the abuse is alleged to have occurred at a training facility at Croix-des-Bouquets, near Port-au-Prince, that FIFA has singled out as an example of its commitment to impoverished regions. Within a year of becoming FIFA president, Gianni Infantino took a trip to Haiti in 2017, carrying a $500,000 check to repair the facility, which was damaged by a hurricane earlier that year. Infantino joined a group of boys and girls for an impromptu scrimmage.continue reading