The Barbados Football Association has sent a clear message that it will not tolerate any form of misconduct, after getting rid of a senior male staff member who was accused of misconduct with a player on the senior national women’s football team.
The situation came to light a few weeks ago when a group of concerned national players signed a petition and also copied the BFA’s top brass to have the sexual allegations against the non-national addressed speedily.
A press release sent out today by the BFA indicated that justice was served after a thorough investigation was carried out.
“The Barbados Football Association (BFA) has conducted a thorough investigation into misconduct allegations made by a female football player against a BFA staff member.
“The process was carried out by BFA and its lawyers. Given the sensitive nature of the matter, it was agreed that no public comment would be made until their work was concluded.
“Now that the investigation has been completed, we can confirm that the BFA staff member no longer works at the organisation,” the press release stated.
The release signed by BFA president Randy Harris further outlined that the welfare of BFA staff and its players were of the utmost importance to the local governing body.
“The welfare of our staff and our players is of utmost importance to the BFA. We have policies in place to make clear that we will not accept any form of misconduct or inappropriate behaviour. We will always act in the best interests of our organisation and of football in Barbados.”
The BFA update on the situation did not indicate whether the matter had been brought to the attention of the Royal Barbados Police Force.
The resolution of this matter can be seen as a win for Barbados’ football as many current and former national players and administrators would have voiced their concerns about the situation which initially seemed not to being addressed. When the sexual harassment allegations first came to light, they urged the local governing body to deal with it quickly.
In response to today’s press release, some of the players who were behind the petition and ensured it got widespread attention said they were satisfied with the outcome.
“We are satisfied that the matter was resolved and there was justice. Also, going beyond that, we would just like to know that they have some sort of policy in place so that it would not happen again in the future.
“I understand they are working towards developing an actual policy because they did not have one in place before,” said one of the players who wished not to be identified.
“There is a situation in Haiti where the president of the FA was charged with sexual abuse of underage girls. So, we don’t want it to be a case where it gets that far. So this situation might seem minor compared to that but it is a case where we nipped it in the bud.
“The FA would not have thought this could happen here. They hear about other countries and cases where it has happened but now it has hit home. So, now they have to look and reevaluate and say ‘well we did not have these policies in place. So, if this happens again, we know for sure this is where we stand and this is what we can do’.
“It is not only coming at it beyond the male-female aspect. It can happen male [on] male, female [to] female. So, it is about making sure that everybody is protected in the future,” the player explained.
According to the player, the aggravating situation went beyond football and players needed to be given the assurance that they should not be afraid to speak out when situations like this occurred in the future.
“This matter is beyond football. There is a precedent in football where women have to face these sorts of things all over the world. It happens to men also but it is beyond football at this point.
“Even if players don’t want to go to the FA, there are senior players on the team who they can come forward and speak to and we would have their back one hundred percent,” the player added.
Meanwhile, another individual who was involved in bringing awareness to the situation said: “I think it is a good step in the right direction. A lot of the girls saw that they can be heard and hopefully others feel confident in coming forward in the future.”