“Can you take off your shirt and show me …?”: FIFA dismisses five players’ sexual harassment complaint against an Argentine coach

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The home of FIFA in Zurich, Switzerland. From there they released the controversial fgallo. image file

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The processes of responding to victims of sexual abuse vary until a complaint is crystallized. Sometimes there are no complaints. And when there is, the results can be small. This is the case with the documentation they presented. five players against Diego Gucci accused of sexual harassment. Following the investigation, FIFA He dismissed the complaints, although he did not deny the evidence offered.

Testimonials testimonials named by FIFA as “soccer players A, B, C, D and E” their creepy. They denounce sexual harassment and verbal and psychological violence. In his defense, the coach offered seven witnesses to contradict the scenario described by the five victims. The only witness of the players, coach xfirst confirmed some of the statements, but then chose not to testify before FIFA “for fear of retaliation.”

At FIFPRO -the union that represents soccer players around the world -, five people with dedicated identities criticized the coach at FIFA. Within two years, the ethics committee -Guacci is licensed by FIFA- virtual hearings were completed, written statements were received and witnesses of various kinds gave statements. The result? “insufficient evidence”.

“Guacci made me a video call. We talked about tactics and how I should think about my game in that context. Out of nowhere, he told me: ‘I’m embarrassed to ask you, but can you take off your shirt and show me your boobs?. I was shocked. I pretended not to understand and hopefully he would just stop. But she insisted and again asked me to show her my breasts. She also shows me the panty. Then he moved his camera and showed me that he was not wearing pants. He was just wearing underpants and showed me that he had an erection ”, testified Player E.

The accused coach was not punished, as FIFA considered the evidence against him insufficient.  Photo REUTERS

The accused coach was not punished, as FIFA considered the evidence against him insufficient. Photo REUTERS

He first presented the declaration in writing and then adopted it by ZOOM. On both occasions, he said that after the event described, “Guacci acted in public as if nothing had happened,” but a few weeks later he repeated the messages “in his briefs and with an erection” and other sexual content , which was never requested.

“He texted me pretty consistently for about two or three weeks. I ignored him as much as I could, and I made sure it wasn’t just the two of us. There’s no way he doesn’t understand that I’m not interested. It finally stopped and I feel so relieved, ”the footballer said.

FIFA did not disclose the names of the complainants at FIFPro’s express request, arguing that some were minors at the time of the alleged conduct, most of whom were still active, and more than all because of Guacci “He can use his influence in Argentine soccer in the sports career of the Players”. When the complaints hit, she was the head coach of the U-15 and 17 women’s teams.

The facts denounced correspond to the period in which Guacci served as coach of UAI Urquiza and River. At the time this happened, he was the AFA youth coach: Sub 15 and 17 were under his orbit. Her resume is overwhelming: she was a pioneer in South America as a DT for women’s teams licensed by FIFA, an entity to which she also belongs as an agent.

What did the FAA do?

When asked by FIFA in November 2020, he responded that there were no institutional complaints about Guacci to the national team between that year and last year. He then separated her from the coaching staff. In May 2021, the AFA Ethics Committee requested a copy of the case, which it considered capable of carrying out the process against the coach, something that was denied from Zurich.

Player E was not among the original complainants. He decided not to tell the story, but when Guacci was notified that an investigation had been opened with FIFA for the accusations against him, he contacted the soccer player’s entourage.

“Diego Guacci called someone I worked with, who asked me if I was the one complaining. Then I realized two things: first, he admitted that he had harassed me. I was not involved in the complaint and, to my knowledge, my name is not known to anyone at FIFA investigating. Guacci has probably trained hundreds of women over the years, so why did he specifically call me on the phone? By calling and questioning me, he was found guilty. I don’t have to say anything, ”footballer D explained in one of his statements.

Selection times: female directed Sub 15 and 17. Photo @diego_guacci

Selection times: female directed Sub 15 and 17. Photo @diego_guacci

Based on the evidence gathered, the president of the FIFA Chamber of Investigation, Maria Claudia Rojas, initiated formal investigative proceedings against Guacci, in which he requested a written statement based on the accusations received. After delays, defaults and other delays, finally came a document with the coach’s signature.

However, things changed: on May 21, 2021, FIFA at its Congress meeting voted for the election or re-election of the presidents and vice-presidents of the independent committees, including both rooms of the FIFA Ethics Committee. Guacci’s process is no longer in one woman’s hands: Rojas is replaced by Martin Ngoga in the Chamber’s Instruction Room.

In the written statement in which he responded to the allegations made against him, Guacci added nine pages denying the accusations and providing an extensive list of witnesseswho weeks later declared in favor of him.

Judgment The Investigation Chamber considers that the behavior criticized by Player E “not only responds to a verbal assault made by Mr. Guacci, while he was under his supervision, but also refers to serious sexual conduct. harassment. “

Guacci with the national team jersey he directed.  Photo @Diego_Guacci

Guacci with the national team jersey he directed. Photo @Diego_Guacci

In addition, he left writing that “the sexual harassment suffered by player E was partially confirmed by player A, who also gave testimony, among other things, stating that he had access to communications between Mr. Guacci and another player, including photos of himself that he sent with sexual content, and messages in which he asked that player to share the sexual photos he had with him.

It also says that “Guacci inadvertently confirmed that he harassed Player E when he called Coach X and directly asked him if he knew or not if Player E was involved in the current investigative proceedings, specifically naming him. “

However, the resolution is different: “Looking at all of the above considerations, the Chamber believes that the evidence on file is insufficient to prove, to its satisfaction, the account of the facts of the Players ”. In this way, she acquitted Guacci, who maintains her status in FIFA and currently coordinates women’s soccer for Defense and Justice, who plays in the Second Division, and another youth category.

“Since the Investigation Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee correctly warned that the coach violated the rules of protection and sexual harassment, we hope that the head of the investigation will appeal the decision of the Adjudication Chamber under article 82, paragraph 2 of the Code of “FIFA’s ethics. This is particularly important because neither the players nor FIFPRO have, in accordance with the regulations and jurisprudence currently in force, the right to appeal the decision”, presented its defense of the union that triggered the complaint to FIFA.

Source: Clarin

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