LAUSANNE: Haiti soccer supremo Yves Jean-Bart has had a life ban quashed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport after world federation FIFA was judged by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to have failed to back up allegations of sexual abuse.
The ban had been imposed by FIFA’s ethics committee in November 2020. Jean-Bart appealed to CAS in January 2021 and the hearing took place last March. The CAS panel found “inconsistencies and inaccuracies” in the statements of victims and witnesses presented by FIFA.
A statement from the court concluded: “The Panel of Arbitrators considers that the evidence against Yves Jean-Bart regarding the allegations of sexual abuse is inconsistent, unclear and contradictory and that, as a result, it is not sufficient to establish a violation of Articles 23 and 25 of the FIFA Code of Ethics.
“The Panel therefore decides to uphold the appeal and to annul the sanctions.”
Lausanne, 14 February 2023 – The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has upheld the appeal of the former President of the Haitian Football Federation (FHF), Yves Jean-Bart, against the decision issued by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee on 18 November 2020, in which a life ban and a fine of CHF 1 million were imposed on him for violation of Art. 23 (protection of physical and mental integrity) and Art.
25 (abuse of position) of the FIFA Code of Ethics in relation to acts of sexual harassment and abuse against female soccer players, including minors, as well as abuse of position in connection with his function as FHF President during the period 2014-2020 (the Challenged Decision).
In May 2020, the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee opened an investigation into Yves JeanBart following an article in the newspaper “The Guardian” indicating that Yves Jean-Bart had allegedly coerced several female players at the National Technical Center in Croix-des-Bouquets (“Camp Nou”) to have sexual relations with him. During the course of the investigation, Human Rights Watch (HRW) confirmed the allegations against Yves Jean-Bart and FIFPro provided the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee with a document listing more than 30 alleged victims of Yves Jean-Bart. On 20 November 2020, based on the final report of the FIFA Ethics Committee, the statements of Yves Jean-Bart, and the statements of the Chairman of the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee, the Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee issued the Challenged Decision.
On 27 January 2021, Yves Jean-Bart filed an appeal at CAS requesting the annulment of the Challenged Decision, claiming to be innocent of the charges against him. A CAS Panel of three arbitrators, consisting of Alain Zahlan de Cayetti, President (France), Pierre Müller (Switzerland) and Luigi Fumagalli (Italy), was constituted to decide
the appeal. A hearing was held on 23, 24 and 25 March 2022, during which numerous witnesses were heard, some of them benefiting from special protective measures.
In its award, the Panel of Arbitrators unanimously noted inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the statements of the victims and witnesses presented by FIFA. In addition, the Panel did not consider the information contained in documents prepared by third parties, such as HRW and FIFPro, to be sufficiently evidentiary, as it was not corroborated or confirmed by other regularly administered evidence which could or would have served as a basis for investigative measures to verify its validity.
In conclusion, the Panel of Arbitrators considers that the evidence against Yves Jean-Bart regarding the allegations of sexual abuse is inconsistent, unclear and contradictory and that, as a result, it is not sufficient to establish a violation of Articles 23 and 25 of the FIFA Code of Ethics. The Panel therefore decides to uphold the appeal and to annul the sanctions set out in the Challenged Decision.