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FIFA sends new officials to Haiti during abuse investigation

December 11, 2020 GMT
FILE - In this file photo dated Thursday, May 21, 2020, Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mask, arrives for a court hearing regarding allegations that he abused female athletes at the country's national training center, in Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti. In a verdict announced Friday Nov. 20, 2020, the FIFA ethics committee has found Jean-Bart guilty, banned him from the sport for life and fined him dollars 1.1 million, following accusations of systematic sexual abuse of female players. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery, FILE)
FILE - In this file photo dated Thursday, May 21, 2020, Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mask, arrives for a court hearing regarding allegations that he abused female athletes at the country's national training center, in Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti. In a verdict announced Friday Nov. 20, 2020, the FIFA ethics committee has found Jean-Bart guilty, banned him from the sport for life and fined him dollars 1.1 million, following accusations of systematic sexual abuse of female players. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery, FILE)

ZURICH (AP) — FIFA will send an emergency management team to run soccer in Haiti, saying on Friday it believed the top official it banned for life for sexually abusing players is still running the sport and intimidating witnesses.

Yves Jean-Bart was expelled from soccer last month after a FIFA ethics committee investigation confirmed claims by female national team players of systematic sexual abuse since 2014.

The 73-year-old Jean-Bart has been president of the Haiti Football Federation (FHF) for 20 years.

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“There are strong indications that (Jean-Bart) is still exerting his influence within the FHF by being involved in the running of its daily affairs,” FIFA said in a statement.

“Multiple sources have asserted that there has been continuous interference from the suspended FHF president and his associates that seeks to prevent and/or discourage victims and witnesses from giving testimony in the ongoing investigations.” FIFA said.

Soccer’s world body said it gave interim management a two-year mandate and will help “ensure that the ongoing ethics investigations may continue unimpeded.”

New leadership will be appointed by FIFA and the Miami-based North American soccer body CONCACAF.

Jean-Bart has denied the allegations and pledged to appeal his FIFA ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland. The Haitian judicial system has declined to file charges.

The abuse is said to have happened at the country’s national training center at Croix-des-Bouquets, known as “The Ranch,” which FIFA helped fund.

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