Regarding the sexual abuse and harassment accusation of five professional football players against the coach Diego Guacci entertained by FIFA’s Ethics Committee: FIFPRO would like to rectify the incorrect, misleading and damaging information that Mr. Guacci, his lawyer and his circle are actively providing to the press in Argentina.
- It is not true that the players did not present themselves in the FIFA proceedings.
- It is not true that the Adjudicatory Chamber of FIFA invited the players to a hearing.
- It is not true that the players decided not to appeal, since the players, under the current regulations of FIFA, do not have the right to appeal. Notwithstanding the above, the players did request the Chief of Investigation from the Investigatory Chamber to file an appeal, who was the only party that could appeal the decision. However, to the massive disappointment of the players, there was unfortunately no appeal.
- It is not true that the players were convinced by an instigator to start the proceedings. The proceedings started when FIFA informed one player that with her testimony alone, there was enough to start an investigation. FIFPRO can certify that the players were in direct contact with FIFPRO, without the interference of third parties.
- It is not true that the Chief of Investigation from the Investigatory Chamber now works for FIFPRO.
FIFPRO would like to further clarify that the FIFA Ethics Committee is composed by two chambers, one (the Investigatory Chamber) to lead the investigation and produce a final report outlining the relevant rules that have been breached for which they require a judgment by the other chamber, i.e. the Adjudicatory Chamber, which then takes the final decision. Whereas the Investigatory Chamber did find enough evidence and proposed to sanction Mr. Guacci according to breaches of several articles of the FIFA Ethics Code, the Adjudicatory Chamber, with the same evidence on file, found it insufficient.
The Ethics Committee clearly mentioned that it could not rule out that the reported facts occurred but deemed that the witness statements provided by five separate players were not sufficient to prove the breaches. As mentioned previously, FIFPRO does not agree with the assessment of the FIFA Ethics Committee that five separate witness statements are insufficient to sanction an individual and once more reiterates that the evidence available for these kinds of matters are often solely consisting of the statements of victims and witnesses.
FIFPRO praises the courage of the five players who came forward and will continue to support all players that want to seek justice against abuse and harassment in football.