Women's Fightback: Don't trust the "ethics committees"

Submitted by AWL on 8 June, 2021 - 3:48 Author: Katy Dollar
FIFA sign

Rogério Caboclo, the Brazilian Football Confederation president, has been suspended after accusations of “sexual and moral harassment”. The suspension comes just days after the announcement that Brazil will host the Copa America, Brazil was chosen at the last minute after Colombia was forced to withdraw because of anti-government protests and co-host Argentina was ruled out due to coronavirus infection rates.

The worker alleges Caboclo called her into his office and asked her to remove her mask and offered her alcohol. The employee messaged two CBF directors who came and “rescued” her. However, Caboclo called her back in again, and this time she recorded the exchange.

In the recording the football boss talks about his sex life before quizzing her about her sexual relationships. When he asks: “Do you masturbate?” the employee says she doesn’t want to talk about the topic and leaves the room…

This is the latest sexual misconduct case to hit football in the Americas. A number of high ranking women footballers in Argentina have made allegations to Fifa of bullying and sexual harassment against a youth team coach working for the country’s Football Association. The independent Fifa ethics committee has announced it is looking into the allegation.

The players, many of whom were teenagers when the alleged incidents took place, have accused the coach of threatening them with sexual violence following poor performances; of asking inappropriate questions about players’ sexual preferences and habits while one-on-one; of using sexist and homophobic language, including description of women’s football in the country as “puterio”; saying homosexuality is holding back women’s football; and claiming that players need to be “feminine” rather than just talented. Last November Fifa banned Yves Jean-Bart, the president of the Haiti Football Federation, finding him guilty of having abused his position and sexually harassed and abused female players, including minors.

Sexual harassment and abuse occur in women’s, men’s and mixed sports, and at all levels, with research indicating an increased risk at the elite level. Sports where there is early specialisation, especially sports where intensive talent identification happens around puberty, present particular dangers as young athletes’ success is dependent on their coaches and peers.

Fifa is a self-serving and corrupt organisation which has been forces into suspensions, investigations and bans because of brave victims speaking out. As well as calls for justice for victims of sexual abuse, there are increasingly demands for measures to protect players and junior staff.

Future action cannot be trusted to their “ethics committees”.

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