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Disgraced ex-Haiti football president announces comeback

The former president of Haiti’s football federation, whose lifetime ban from the sport was overturned last month over allegations of sexual abuse, announced Wednesday that he would be reinstating his position.

Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement FIFAhas already appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association until November.

Jean-Bart’s virtual press conference comes a week after Haiti’s women’s soccer team beat Chile 2-1 in a historic match to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup final for the first time. Jubilant celebrations were held all over the country.

Jean-Barre denies allegations by the FIFA Ethics Commission after being found guilty of sexually abusing a young 14-year-old female player, keeping a mistress and exploiting girls from poor neighborhoods in 2020 Did.

The Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned the ban two weeks ago, ruling that the statements of alleged victims were inconsistent and inaccurate.The court also noted information provided by groups such as Human Rights Watch and the World Players Union FIFPRO were not “enough proof”.

Joined by several lawyers during the videoconference, Jeanbart also said he would file a lawsuit for alleged defamation against the freelance journalist who first reported the accusations against him in the British newspaper The Guardian.

“He’s going on the offensive. Let’s find out,” said his attorney Stanley Gaston.

Gaston added that Jeanbart is battling cancer and it’s not clear when he will return to Haiti, noting that all business will be conducted virtually.

Another lawyer, Claude Lamoni, stressed that Jean-Barr was no longer suspended and that it was his right to continue as president of the Haitian football federation.

“He’s been elected president for four years and his term hasn’t ended,” Lamoni said, adding that FIFA should recognize him as such. .”

A FIFA official did not immediately return a message for comment.It is unclear whether FIFA will have to allow Jeanbart to lead the Haitian federation again.

The emergency committee appointed by FIFA to head the Haitian Football Association, headed by veteran Cuban football officials, will host Haiti in Rwanda on March 16, when FIFA’s 211 member federations will hold their annual general meeting. set to represent.

FIFA may deny Jeanbart eligibility for such FIFA-sponsored events, including the Women’s World Cup starting in July.The month-long tournament is co-hosted by Australia New Zealand generally requires Haitian citizens to apply for a visa to enter. It was also unclear whether FIFA planned to appeal the court’s decision to uphold Jean-Barre’s appeal.

Human Rights Watch said the Court of Arbitration for Sport “erroneously reversed” Jean-Bart’s lifetime ban and called on FIFA to appeal the ruling.

“In Haiti, FIFA and the sport of football have given Yves Jean-Bart enormous power, including abuse of child athletes and cover-up of his abuse with threats to kill survivors and families. ,” said Minky Warden, Global Initiatives Director at HRW. statement.

“Despite knowing that many players and federation staff have received death threats, (the court) failed to provide basic witness protection at the hearing,” the statement said.

Jean-Barre, who has headed the Haitian football federation since 2000, also announced Wednesday that it would create new protections to prevent sexual abuse, including the establishment of an ethics commission.

“I must thank God for his support and strength to combat all the allegations made by our enemies in Haiti and abroad for 20 years,” he said. I keep trying to beat it.”

___ Contributed by Graham Dunbar, Associated Press correspondent in Geneva. Coto reported from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/ap-fifa-portauprince-fifpro-australia-b2292324.html Disgraced ex-Haiti football president announces comeback

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