Suspend Gamel: Deo

Amnesty International researcher says suspending Gamel will ensure that the integrity and fairness of the accountability process is not jeopardised.
30 Jan 2019 10:31
Suspend Gamel: Deo
Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher Roshika Deo.


A human rights activist with Amnesty International has urged Fiji Football Association to suspend national coach Christophe Gamel to make way for proper investigation into allegations he allegedly assaulted and abused players.

Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher Roshika Deo says the football body should not wait for complaints to conduct investigations, given the serious nature of allegations levelled against the coach.

Deo says suspending Gamel will ensure that the integrity and fairness of the accountability process is not jeopardised.

“Media reports have indicated that some of the players have experienced retaliation and intimidation by coach Gamel after initial reports of the abuse and mistreatments surfaced,” Deo wrote.

“It is highly important that Gamel is sent on leave pending investigations given the proximity and nature of the relationship between him and the players.

“The responsibility is on the Fiji Football Association as the main governing body to ensure that this should have not happened and they should immediately take measures to prevent it from happening again.”

The Fiji Sun first reported the alleged abuse on Saturday (January 26).

Three senior members of the national women’s team also came forward with stories of the coach allegedly mocking them for their physical appearance and weight.

Deo’s sentiments echo those made by leading women’s rights activist Shamima Ali, who has called for an independent inquiry into Gamel’s alleged behaviour.

“The players don’t have to make direct complaints to the Fiji FA for an investigation to be conducted,” Deo said.

“When so many allegations from different players and from the district associations have surfaced, it becomes prudent in the interest of good governance and transparency to initiate an independent, fair and transparent investigation.

“The investigation protocols and investigation should take into account, among other things, the nature and number of complaints, and the power dynamics between the complainants and the accused.”

Fiji FA issued a statement yesterday urging players to lodge a complaint against Gamel if they have concerns.

FFA president Rajesh Patel has said they have not looked into the alleged abuse of women because they did not lodge a complaint

-Edited by Leone Cabenatabua




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