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Sex abuse football coach hit with FIFA international ban

A FIFA official football from 2018, when the World Cup was held in the Russian Federation (photo is illustrative).
A FIFA official football from 2018, when the World Cup was held in the Russian Federation (photo is illustrative). Source: ERR

Football's international governing body FIFA has slapped a ban on a Brazilian national who had been active as a coach in Estonia for many years. The coach, Getulio Aurelio Fredo, is being investigated over sexual abuse allegations which first emerged in the Estonian media in March.

The FIFA ban is for an indefinite period, BNS reports, and prevents Fredo, 66, from being "active in the field of football". Fredo had already been banned from coaching by the domestic football governing body, the EJL. The FIFA ban covers all member countries and stretches far beyond coaching and sporting aspects of football, into the administrative area as well.

Fredo was banned from domestic coaching 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.

One of the alleged victims took her story to commercial TV station Kanal 2 and said that sexual relations between her and Fredo had started in 2007 – when she was 14, he 52 – and had involved coercion.

Other unnamed individuals are reported to have come forward in connection with the allegations since then, and Fredo is subject to a criminal investigation.

The case, along with at least two other sexual abuse cases connected to the world of sport and which emerged in the media in the aftermath of the Nõmme Kalju case, prompted renewed discussion on the age of consent in Estonia.

A bill has been tabled to raise the age of consent to 16 (from the current age of 14), and is currently being processed at the Riigikogu.

The bill reportedly contains a "Romeo and Juliet" clause, which differentiates between cases where there are substantial age gaps between both or all parties, and those where there are not.

The EJL rejected Fredo's appeal on its ban earlier this week.

At the time it issued the ban, the EJL's disciplinary board stated that: "In the course of the proceedings, in addition to what has been reported in the press so far, we have collected important additional information that we will not disclose to protect the confidentiality of individuals, including information about the same period that the prosecutor's office has now begun to investigate, that is up until the year 2019."

"We emphasize that the procedure was conducted in accordance with the rules of the EJL, according to which all parties were given the opportunity to present their views, while the initial deadline set for this was extended," the statement continued, BNS reports.

"Of course, the EJL, as a sports organization, predominantly reviews violations through ethics in its proceedings, and a police investigation, where compliance with laws is checked, is another matter altogether."

In total, FIFA recognizes 211 national associations and their associated men's national teams as well as 129 women's national teams worldwide, while only a handful of small sovereign states that are not affiliated with FIFA have in recent years held football competitions.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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