Fifa on Monday suspended the president of Haiti’s football federation for 90 days pending an investigation into allegations he sexually abused teenage girls at the national training center.
Yves Jean-Bart, 73, known as “Dadou”, the president of the Fédération Haïtienne De Football (FHF) since 2000, categorically denies accusations that he coerced several players at the Centre Technique National in Croix-des-Bouquets into having sex. The alleged incidents are understood to have taken place within the last five years.
“In accordance with articles 84 and 85 of the Fifa Code of Ethics, the investigatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has provisionally banned Jean-Bart, from all football-related activities at both national and international levels, 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. Mr. Jean-Bart was notified of the decision today. The provisional sanction comes into force immediately.”
According to The Guardian, Jean-Bart said there had “never been any complaint against the federation, nor against the staff engaged in our academy, nor against my person. This kind of practice of sexual abuse is almost impossible in our camp centre given the physical structures, the principles of education, and continuous awareness that we have put in place.”
Haitian police have launched an investigation 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 in an article published by The Guardian in late April, Jean-Bart raped multiple underage players over the years, and several players who have now left the centre were coerced by Jean-Bart into having sex with him, including one who was forced to have an abortion.
“She was put under pressure not to talk,” a former player at the centre said. “Another of our best young players lost her virginity to Dadou when she was 17 in 2018 and also had to abort. These girls who live at the Fifa centre … it’s such a shame because they want to play for the country but if they speak about this situation they will be fired. They are hostages.”
Another player, one of Haiti’s rising stars who play professionally, has claimed that a friend of Dadou tried to rape her when she was living at the centre, in a suburb of the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince. “She managed to get away from him and her parents know the situation,” said another source who is close to the player’s family. “But Dadou has tried everything to keep it quiet.”
“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,” said Marie-Rosy Auguste Ducena of the National Network for the Defence of Human Rights (RNDDH).
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.”
Jean-Bart has led the country’s football federation for two decades. His re-election in February for a sixth term was a mere formality — he ran unopposed.
When contacted by AFP for comment, he did not respond.