A former leading official at Haiti’s national football centre has accused the president of the country’s football association of sexually abusing young female players for many years and urged more of his alleged victims to speak out.
Yves Jean-Bart, known as Dadou, was suspended for 90 days by Fifa in May after claims he had coerced several girls at the Centre Technique National in Croix-des-Bouquets into having sex with him. He has strenuously denied these claims, which were first made by alleged victims in a Guardian report in April, and did not respond to repeated requests for comment on the latest allegations.
Antoine Doret, who spent 12 years working as technical director of the centre before leaving in 2014, has claimed he witnessed the president’s abuse of young female players under the age of 18 and has already testified to Fifa.
“Dadou has committed sexual abuses for many years,” he said. “Dadou takes advantage of their poverty. The girls and families are so poor. Football is sometimes their only way to get something in their life.”
Until now, none of the alleged victims or witnesses has been prepared to have their names published but Doret – who is now director at top-flight Haitian club Petit-Goâve – told the Guardian that he believed it is important to go public.
“It’s time for me to talk and I’m not the only one,” he said. “I am working with some associations fighting for women’s rights in Haiti. By talking publicly, I want to say to the girls to speak as well. I understand they are afraid because no one defended them. But it’s time to end this era and start something else in our country. It’s time for justice.”
Doret also named an employee at the centre who is alleged to have helped facilitate abuse as Nella Joseph.
“She is the one who persuades the girl to have sex with Dadou,” he added. “She’s as responsible as him. I was the director of the Fifa-Goal Centre [the national training centre at Croix-des-Bouquets], I know what I’m talking about.”
Joseph has not responded to the Guardian’s repeated requests for comment.
A former player, speaking on condition that her name is not used, has also accused Joseph of “convincing young girls to have sex” with Jean-Bart by alerting him to their presence and also abusing under-age players herself.
“Dadou and Nella would pretend that the girls have doctor’s visits, so that Dadou can take them out of the ranch to go sleep with them,” she said. “Nella attempted to do that to me on two occasions. Nella also has sex with the little girls. She took the virginity of many of the girls.”
It is understood that La Brigade des Mineurs, a department of the Haitian police force which specialises in investigating child abuse cases, is also investigating wider allegations of abuses at the centre.
Doret has also claimed that he informed world football’s governing body of alleged corruption taking place at the FHF in 2014 but received no reply.
“I can’t understand why Fifa didn’t do anything,” he said. “We warned them about the corruption and nothing [happened]. It was very complicated because Dadou is powerful. Now the girls are scared because they don’t know if they will be protected.”
In a statement, Fifa confirmed that it had received Doret’s letter but added that it had been “subsequently closed due to a lack of evidence”.
“Fifa takes any allegation of misconduct reported to it extremely seriously,” it added. “Fifa has and will continue to cooperate together with the relevant national and international authorities on any allegation or report that is made in confidence to Fifa about abuse or misconduct in football and will bring anyone who corrupts and abuses football to justice.”
Joseph Varieno Saint-Fleur, the FHF’s longest-serving vice-president, was appointed interim president last month while Jean-Bart is investigated.
Fifa said in its statement: “Regarding the investigation into the abuse allegations in Haiti, following the sanctions announced previously, please note that this investigation [is] still ongoing and any further updates will be provided in due course.” continue reading