FIFA loses appeal over lifting Haiti official’s ban

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Swiss federal judges dismissed FIFA’s appeal against a ruling that overturned its life ban for the former president of Haiti’s soccer federation for alleged sexual abuse of women’s national team players.

A verdict from Switzerland’s supreme court released on Thursday rejected FIFA’s request filed in March to annul a Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling that lifted Yves Jean-Bart’s expulsion from the sport.

The federal court can review CAS decisions on limited procedural grounds and rarely overturns the sports court’s verdicts. FIFA argued that CAS judges failed to evaluate some evidence.

The decision by three Swiss Federal Tribunal judges was dated June 28, less than a month before Haiti makes its debut at the Women’s World Cup against England in Brisbane. Haiti’s group includes China and Denmark.

The Haitian women progressed through qualifying for the July 20-Aug. 20 tournament, being co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, while long-time federation president Jean-Bart was banished from the sport.

FIFA’s ethics committee banned Jean-Bart in November 2020 after hearing allegations of multiple sexual offenses against women and girls who were in national team squads. Witnesses in Haiti were alleged to have been threatened not to give evidence.

Jean-Bart denied the allegations, and at his appeal the judges decided “none of the testimonies heard by the CAS were sufficiently precise and convincing to establish [his] guilt,” the sports court said in February.

FIFA was ordered by federal judges to pay 15,000 Swiss francs ($16,740) in court costs and 17,000 Swiss francs ($19,000) to Jean-Bart.

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