Ex-Haiti football boss's FIFA life ban overturned by CAS on appeal

Hearing of Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation in Crois-Des-Bouquets
Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mask arrives at a hearing at the Crois-Des-Bouquets prosecutor's office. Crois-Des-Bouquets, Haiti, May 14, 2020. REUTERS/Jeanty Junior Augustin

Feb 14 (Reuters) - Former Haitian football federation president Yves Jean-Bart's FIFA life ban from the sport has been annulled, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said on Tuesday.

Soccer's world governing body investigated allegations against Jean-Bart by victims, their friends and family members detailing how he coerced girls into sex by threatening they would lose their places in national team programmes.

Jean-Bart, now 75, denied the allegations and was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Haitian justice system on Nov. 19, 2020.

However, the following day FIFA banned Jean-Bart for life and fined him one million Swiss francs ($1.08 million) after finding him guilty of sexually harassing and abusing multiple female players, including minors.

Jean-Bart appealed the decision to CAS, sport's highest court, in 2021.

"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," CAS said in a release.

"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 (Human Rights Watch) and (global soccer players' union) FIFPro, to be sufficiently evidentiary...

"The panel therefore decides to uphold the appeal and to annul the sanctions set out in the challenged decision."

Reuters has contacted FIFA for comment.

($1 = 0.9221 Swiss francs)

Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris

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