KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- Former football boss Patrice Edouard Ngaissona, who is awaiting trial on war crimes, has been banned from the game for six years by FIFA’s ethics committee.
In fact, being banned from football the least of the problems facing Ngaïssona who was arrested by French authorities in 2018 on charges of co-ordinating militia attacks on the Central African Republic’s Muslim population in 2013-14.
He was extradited to the International Criminal Court in The Hague early this year. The ex-CAR sports minister and former committee member of the Confederation of African Football has denied all allegations.
The CAR, a former French colony, was plunged into turmoil in 2013 when predominately Muslim rebels from the Seleka group seized power in the majority Christian country.
Christian militias, called the anti-Balaka, hit back after President Francois Bozize was ousted. Thousands died in the clashes and the United Nations estimated that more than a million people had been forced from their homes.
Ngaïssona was the self-declared political co-ordinator of anti-Balaka forces.
In this role, the ICC has said he committed war crimes and crimes against humanity including murder, torture and the recruitment of child soldiers.
His trial, along with that of associate Alfred Yekatom, opened in September when Ngaissona’s lawyer described him as an “incompetent leader” who was unable to order the acts of which he is charged.
FIFA ethics statement
The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has found Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona, a former President of the Central African Republic Football Association (CARFA) and a former FIFA standing committee member, guilty of having infringed his duty of neutrality, as well as of discrimination and of failing to protect, respect or safeguard integrity and human dignity, in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics.
The investigation into Mr Ngaïssona concerned his participation in the Anti-Balaka movement (as one of its key leaders) as well as the related armed conflict in the Central African Republic in the 2013-2014 period.
In its decision, the adjudicatory chamber found that Mr Ngaïssona had breached art. 14 (Duty of neutrality), art. 22 (Discrimination and defamation) and art. 23 (Protection of physical and mental integrity) of the FIFA Code of Ethics (2018 edition) and, as a result, sanctioned him with a ban on taking part in any football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level for a duration of six years and eight months. Additionally, a fine in the amount of CHF 500,000 has been imposed on Mr Ngaïssona.
The decision was notified to Mr Ngaïssona today, the date on which the ban comes into force, and has been published on legal.fifa.com. A direct link to the decision is accessible here.