A football trainer banned from coaching following allegations of sexual misconduct has had his appeal on the ban overruled.
The coach, Getulio Aurelio Fredo, 66, appealed the ban, imposed for an indefinite period by the sport's governing body, the EJL, but an independent appeals board rejected the coaches' claim.
Fredo, a Brazilian national, was barred on March 19 following media allegations that he had engaged in sexual activity with girls who were, while above the age of consent, minors, during his time coaching the women's team at top-flight club Nõmme Kalju.
Some of the alleged victims had claimed coercion was involved in the incidents. Fredo and his lawyer Robert Sarv denied these allegations on a Postimees newscast on March 13.
In March, one of Fredo's alleged victims, Mia Belle Trisna, took her story to commercial TV station Kanal 2's "Õhtu" current affairs show. Trisna said that the defendant had subjected her to sexual abuse over a lengthy period of time, starting in 2007 when Fredo was aged 52, while she was 14 years old. Other unnamed individuals are reported to have come forward in connection with the allegations since then.
The EJL's decision to bar Fredo from coaching was based on section 4.1 of its disciplinary regulations, which states that: "Individuals undertake to act in accordance with the principles of loyalty, honesty, sportsmanship and ethics", and section 4.3.7, which deals with general standards and best practices.
The disciplinary committee also found a breach of the coaches' code of ethics and noted that Getulio Aurelio Fredo had made statements in the press which harmed the reputation of football in the country. Fredo stated that the relationship with Trisna had been consensual and long-standing.
The appeals board, made up of two sworn advocates, Enno Heringson and Aivar Pilv, plus committee chair Priit Kotkas, says it will communicate the reasons for its decision on June 18.
Media attention on the case and others involving the world of sport has led to a discussion on the age of consent, with a bill which would raise the age of consent to 16 passing its first Riigikogu vote last week.
Editor: Andrew Whyte