Former head of referees at Haitian FA banned for life by Fifa over sexual abuse

Fifa’s ethics committee has issued a lifetime ban to the Haitian Football Federation’s (FHF’s) former head of referees Rosnick Grant, after finding him guilty of committing acts of sexual harassment and abuse.

Grant, who had his original provisional 90-day suspension extended in May, was also found to have abused his position and coerced young referees “to prevent the reporting of such sexual abuse”, according to a statement from the ethics committee’s independent adjudicatory chamber on Friday.

“In the case of Mr Grant, his conduct occurred between 2011 and 2021, and was related to sexual harassment and abuse, as well as threats and coercion (to prevent the reporting of such sexual abuse) towards female referees, and taking advantage of his position of authority in Haitian football refereeing in exchange for sexual favours,” it read.

“In its decision, the adjudicatory chamber found that Mr Grant had breached art. 23 (Protection of physical and mental integrity) and art. 25 (Abuse of position) of the Fifa Code of Ethics and sanctioned him with a lifetime ban from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level. In addition, a fine in the amount of CHF 100,000 [£78,970] has been imposed on Mr Grant.”

Grant is a former international referee who had been president of the FHF’s referees’ commission since 2009 and had ultimate responsibility for the appointment of referees in Haiti’s domestic leagues. Several alleged victims told the Guardian in September that he intimidated young officials by threatening to end their careers if they did not have sex with him, and another said he had tried to take her virginity when she was 17.

Grant was also a vice-president of the FHF and his ban comes as part of Fifa’s investigation into what it has described as systematic sexual abuse against female football players and coaches, with the former president Yves Jean-Bart banned for life in November. Jean-Bart plans to appeal to the court of arbitration for sport having repeatedly protested his innocence.

Nella Joseph – the supervisor of Haiti’s Under-20 women’s team who was based at the Centre Technique National in Croix-des-Bouquets – was handed a 10-year ban in May after being found guilty of forcing players into having sex with Jean-Bart, and Fifa is continuing its investigation into allegations that the executive secretary Fenelus Guerrier blackmailed girls into having sex with him. Guerrier told the Guardian in September he was co-operating with what he described as a confidential inquiry.

Fifa appointed a normalisation committee in January after it found “strong indications” that Jean-Bart was still exerting influence over the federation but has yet to name the committee’s new president after Jacques Letang stepped down.

Last month, Grant was summoned by the local magistrate in Croix-des-Bouquets after he was accused of attempting to arrange the killing of a journalist. Grant has denied the claims.

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