SPORTS

Lodge Complaints: Patel

- Patel said they have not looked into the alleged abuse of women because the women did not lodge a complaint - As part of the investigation, Gamel has been interviewed and he has denied assaulting or abusing any players - Rajesh Patel
30 Jan 2019 10:30
Lodge Complaints: Patel
In the spotlight... Fiji Football Association president Rajesh Patel.

 

Fiji Football Association president, Rajesh Patel, says national team coach Christophe Gamel has denied allegations of alleged assault and abuse levelled against him by players.

“The Fiji Football Association, its officials and employees, have been subject to attack in several articles by the Fiji Sun,” Patel’s statement said.

“Allegations against Christophe Gamel have been published despite Fiji Sun being informed that the matter is under investigation.

“As part of the investigation, Gamel has been interviewed and he has denied assaulting or abusing any players.”

Patel has also invited aggrieved players to lodge formal complaints or attend interviews at the Ba academy as part of the investigation.

The statement contradicts testimonies by five of Gamel’s alleged victims, who allege the coach assaulted and abused them after a training camp in Ba on January 16 after a drug test.

The statement was issued three days after Fiji Sun first reported the alleged abuse on Saturday (January 26).

SUNsports spoke on-the-record to Under-23 triallists Amena Bola, Kalaveti Sivoi, Kini Madigi, Sekove Finau and Simione Nabenu last week.

Women’s head coach Marika Rodu and Under-23 team manager Anushil Kumar, who allegedly witnessed the alleged assaults, declined to comment.

Three senior members of the women’s team also spoke to the Fiji Sun on the condition of anonymity.

They allege Gamel abused, bullied and mocked them for their weight and physical appearance on several occasions.

Investigations into Gamel’s alleged behaviour were opened after the Ba Football Association lodged a complaint on January 17.

Patel said they have not looked into the alleged abuse of women because the women did not lodge a complaint.

However, players and critics have said Fiji FA should have known about the alleged incidents because it was an open secret, and should have acted rather than waited for complaints.

Leading women’s rights activist Shamima Ali has called on Patel to suspend Gamel while investigations into his alleged behaviour continue.

Prominent media figure Raymond Stoddart has also called on Gamel to step aside, while the matter is being investigated.

But Patel said he “will not ask anyone to step down nor will we terminate/suspend an employment based on media reports and allegations alone.”

Patel added: “The Fiji Football Association takes the ill-treatment of any of its players, officials or employees, and drug abuse very seriously and will impose sanctions against anyone found guilty.”STATEMENTSTATEMENT 2

-Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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