In the proceedings between Mr Rosnick Grant and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has decided to confirm the life ban imposed on Mr Rosnick Grant, former Vice-President and Head of Referees of the Haitian Football Federation (FHF), by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee for violation of Article 23 (protection of physical and mental integrity) and Article 25 (abuse of power) of the FIFA Code of Ethics in connection with acts of harassment, sexual abuse, threats and coercion against female referees. The fine of CHF 100,000 initially imposed on Mr Rosnick Grant was reduced to CHF 35,000.
In May 2020, the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee opened an investigation into Mr Yves Jean-Bart, former President of the FHF, who was suspected of having coerced several female players from the National Technical Centre in Croix-des-Bouquets into having sexual relations with him. During the proceedings, the Investigatory Chamber identified Mr Rosnick Grant as one of the perpetrators of sexual abuse and opened an investigation against him in August 2020. On 22 July 2021, based on the final report of the FIFA Ethics Committee, the testimony of a victim, the statements of Mr Rosnick Grant, and the statements of the Chairman of the Investigation Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee, the Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee issued the Challenged Decision.
On 6 October 2021, Mr Rosnick Grant filed an appeal at CAS requesting the annulment of the Challenged Decision, claiming that he was innocent of the charges against him. A CAS Panel of three arbitrators, composed of Mr Alexander McLin, President (Switzerland/USA), Prof. Gérald Simon (France) and Mr José J. Pintó (Spain), was constituted to decide the appeal. A hearing was held on 15 and 16 February 2023, during which numerous witnesses were heard, some of whom benefited from special protective measures.
As a basis for its decision, the Arbitral Panel considered the testimony of a victim, who had travelled to Switzerland for the hearing, to be accurate, coherent and credible. The Panel also noted the inconsistency and imprecision in the statements of the witnesses called by Mr Rosnick Grant, most of whom stated, in a contradictory and unconvincing manner, that the accusations against Mr Rosnick Grant were the result of a conspiracy against him. Finally, the Arbitral Panel found that the fine imposed on Mr Rosnick Grant was disproportionate to the salary conditions he was subject to in Haiti.
In conclusion, the Arbitral Panel found that the evidence against Mr Rosnick Grant regarding the sexual abuse charges was sufficiently convincing and that, as a result, the sanction imposed on Mr Rosnick Grant by the Court should be confirmed, with the exception of the fine, which was reduced to CHF 35'000. This decision comes a few weeks after another CAS decision concerning the former President of the FHF, Mr. Yves Jean-Bart, who was released from the sanctions imposed on him by FIFA due to insufficient evidence. That CAS decision is currently being appealed to the Swiss Federal Tribunal.
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