Fifa opens proceedings against four coaches in Gabon sexual abuse inquiry

  • Coaches including Eyi and Mombo provisionally suspended
  • All four banned worldwide from football activity for 90 days

Fifa’s independent ethics committee has opened formal proceedings against Patrick Assoumou Eyi, Serge Mombo and two other coaches as part of its investigation into allegations of sexual abuse in Gabon.

The former national under-17 coach Eyi – known as “Capello” – is awaiting sentencing in Gabon after admitting charges of raping, grooming and exploiting young players following allegations first made in the Guardian last year. He was provisionally suspended by the Gabonese Football Federation (Fegafoot) in December and banned from all football-related activities there – a sanction that has now been extended worldwide according to a statement from Fifa on Tuesday.

Mombo, who was re-elected as president of La Ligue de l’Estuaire, Gabon’s senior football league, in June 2021, Tout Puissant Akwembé FC’s Orphée Mickala and Triphel Mabicka from Libreville’s Moussavou FC have also been provisionally suspended “from taking part in any football activity (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level for a period of 90 days”, the statement said.

It added: “These sanctions have been imposed in connection with ongoing criminal investigations concerning the above-mentioned Gabonese football officials, who were identified as having allegedly been involved in acts of systematic sexual abuse against minor players, as reported by local authorities and published in certain media outlets.”

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Mombo has been accused of sexually abusing young players and demanding sex as a condition of their securing places in national teams. He has denied the claims.

Last week Pierre-Alain Mounguengui, the president of Fegafoot, was placed in pre-trial detention at the central prison in Libreville after being arrested in connection with the sexual abuse investigation. It is understood that Mounguengui could face up to three years in prison if found guilty of charges that relate to not reporting alleged sexual abuse by a number of coaches to the authorities. There is no suggestion Mounguengui has been accused of sexual abuse himself.


Ed Aarons and Romain Molina

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