Haitian Football Federation (HFF) president Dr Yves ‘Dadou’ Jean-Bart has been banned for life by Fifa, after being found guilty of ‘systematic sexual abuse against female football players between 2014 and 2020’.
The decision was released today by the adjudicatory chamber of Fifa’s Ethics Committee, which also imposed a 1,000,000 CH (TT$7.4 million) fine on the Haitian official. Fifa investigations into other HFF officials for related crimes was described as ‘pending’.
“In its decision, the adjudicatory chamber found that Mr Jean-Bart had breached art 23 (Protection of physical and mental integrity) and art 25 (Abuse of position) of the Fifa Code of Ethics,” stated Fifa, “and sanctioned him with a life ban from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level.
“In addition, a fine in the amount of CHF 1,000,000 has been imposed on Mr Jean-Bart.”
Jean-Bart vowed to challenge Fifa’s ruling at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and said he ‘expects to be fully exonerated and reinstated’.
Fifa’s decision was purportedly made on 18 November but only shared with Jean-Bart and the rest of the world today. It came barely 24 hours after charges against the football official were dropped in the relevant Haiti court—in large part because witnesses failed to testify.
Human Rights Watch warned in August that witnesses and sexual abuse survivors ‘reported efforts to intimidate them in Haiti and the United States’.
However in a press release yesterday, Jean-Bart, who referred to himself in the third person, claimed that Haiti’s judicial system: ‘fully [cleared] him of any wrongdoing, proving that the relentless attacks and false accusations against him are indeed just that: lies without merit’ and that ‘after months of false allegations, not one alleged victim came forward publicly nor was the judicial system able to find potential victims’.
He claimed the accusations, which were first published by the UK Guardian, were ‘a coordinated political attack seeking to destabilise the Federation and undermine Dr Jean-Bart’s legacy’ so as ‘to put immense pressure on Fifa to remove Dr Jean-Bart’.
“This travesty must not be allowed to stand,” stated Jean-Bart’s release. “Dr Jean-Bart has been honoured to serve Haitian Football for the past two decades, and is ready to continue serving.”
Although Jean-Bart is a free man in his homeland, Fifa has distanced itself from the controversial president, who was accused of singling out minors within Haiti’s elite football programme for sexual abuse, and using his country’s Fifa-funded centre of excellence—formally the Centre Technique National in Croix-des-Bouquets—as a grooming site.
Jean-Bart, through spokesman Evan Nierman, described Fifa’s decision as ‘a travesty of justice’ meant to offset ‘bad press following a series of high-profile scandals’.
“Fifa’s decision is a travesty of justice and purely political move to avoid further controversy and bad press following a series of high-profile scandals,” stated Nierman. “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.”
(Full Fifa statement on Yves Jean-Bart)
The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has found Yves Jean-Bart, the president of the Haitian Football Association (sic) (FHF) and former Fifa standing committee member, guilty of having abused his position and sexually harassed and abused various female players, including minors, in violation of the Fifa Code of Ethics.
The aforementioned ethics proceedings are part of an extensive investigation concerning Mr Jean Bart, as well as other officials within the FHF, who were identified as having allegedly been involved (as principals, accomplices or instigators) in acts of systematic sexual abuse against female football players between 2014 and 2020. The proceedings are still pending with respect to other FHF officials.
In its decision, the adjudicatory chamber found that Mr Jean-Bart had breached art 23 (Protection of physical and mental integrity) and art 25 (Abuse of position) of the Fifa Code of Ethics and sanctioned him with a life ban from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level. In addition, a fine in the amount of CHF 1,000,000 has been imposed on Mr Jean-Bart.
The decision was taken on 18 November 2020 and the terms of it were notified to Mr Jean-Bart today, the date on which the ban comes into force.
In accordance with art 78 par 2 of the Fifa Code of Ethics, the full, motivated decision will be notified to Mr Jean-Bart in the next 60 days, and will subsequently be published on legal.fifa.com.