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Stoddart: Step Aside, Gamel

  A prominent football commentator has called on Fijian national coach Christophe Gamel to step aside while investigations over his alleged assault and abuse of youth men and women players
28 Jan 2019 10:00
Stoddart: Step Aside, Gamel
Long-time local commentator and football critic Raymond Stoddart. Photo: Sheldon Chanel

 

A prominent football commentator has called on Fijian national coach Christophe Gamel to step aside while investigations over his alleged assault and abuse of youth men and women players continue.

Better known to fans as ‘The Voice of football,’ Raymond Stoddart believes the allegations are so serious that the coach should step aside while investigations take place.

“It’s a sad day for football if what the players and parents have alleged actually transpired,” Stoddart said.

“He is the national coach and the integrity of the sport is at stake. Therefore, Gamel should step aside and wait for the outcome of the investigations.

“We should also get the investigations out of the way as quickly as possible, especially with the Pacific Games coming up in July and the Olympic Games qualifiers in September.”

Gamel was sent emails and text messages asking for his response to Stoddart’s comments. He did not respond by the time this edition went to press.

SUNsports was also at the Fiji Football Academy in Vatuwaqa, Suva yesterday during the Women’s Inter-district Championship from 1pm to 3:30pm, waiting for Gamel. He did not show up.

Several phone calls to the coach also went unanswered.

Stoddart is the first prominent other media figure to speak out against the alleged abuses.

Ba Football president Rishi Kumar has also called for the sacking of Gamel, if the allegations are proven true.

Another football critic, Asuad Ali from Vancouver, Canada, has called on all officials and witnesses of Gamel’s alleged behaviour to be disciplined and removed.

SUNsports exposed the coach’s alleged behaviour on Saturday, detailing a litany of allegations made by the players, including alleged assault and bullying.

National women footballers have also spoken out against Gamel, saying he allegedly mocked them for their weight and physical appearance.

 

‘Unacceptable by any standards’

“The revelation that he (allegedly) slapped, embarrassed and talked down on both the men and women players is unacceptable by any standards,” Ali wrote in an email.

“What he failed to realise is that any form of physical and or verbal abuse is simply bullying, an exertion of power on the weak and defenceless.

“No one deserves to be belittled, called out for being who they are and what they appear to be. Gamel’s (alleged) behaviour calls for an inquiry.”

Fiji Football Association president Rajesh Patel continues to remain silent about the allegations.

However, Fiji FA chief executive officer Mohammed Yusuf said yesterday that only their solicitor, Samuel Ram, would issue official statements.

Ram issued a brief statement on Friday (January 25), saying FFA will take the allegations seriously, but will make no comments until the investigations are complete. He also threatened legal action.

-Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback:  sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

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