Libreville – Gabon’s president has asked for an investigation into allegations that a former coach for the country’s under-17 soccer team sexually abused young players, the country’s sports minister said on Friday.
The call came a day after British newspaper The Guardian reported on accusations that Patrick Assoumou Eyi raped, groomed and exploited underage athletes in his care.
President Ali Bongo Ondimba, who described the case as “very serious and unacceptable”, asked “the justice minister to open an investigation in the national football community over sexual abuses committed against children, girls and boys,” Sports Minister Franck Nguema said.
He had also requested a wider probe across all national sports federations to “eradicate potential sexual predators”.
The Gabonese Football Federation on Friday suspended Eyi and ordered the Ethics Commission of the National Football League to officially look into the matter, the federation’s spokesman Moussodji Ngoma said.
The Guardian reported that alleged victims said Eyi abused boys both as the head coach of the country’s youth side until 2017, and until recently as the technical director for La Ligue de l’Estuaire, the nation’s top league.
The coach did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.
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