A new pact has been signed between the government and the Colombian football league announcing a ‘total commitment to zero tolerance’ of sexual abuse and workplace harassment in women’s football.
This pact was the result an emergency meeting to discuss a recent wave of revelations about abuses of power, from bullying and blackmail, to harassment and sexual assault of underage girls.
Any hint of discrimination against women, or any sexual harassment, we have to treat it as a cancer to which we will apply the strongest chemotherapy in existence, but above all we are going to take preventive measures.”
Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez
The 21-point pact announces transparency and protection of women and children in the sport, and will be accompanied by a special anti-corruption officer, norms and codes of behavior of those who work with players. It was signed by the vice-president, the Administrative Department of Sport and Recreation, The Director of the High Council for Women, the Family Welfare Institute, the Minister of Transparency, and the Colombian Football Federation.
Criminal investigations are being pursued; Didier Luna, accused of sexual abusing a minor, has publicly denied all allegations. “This type of investigation can count on the support of the government because we have zero tolerance for any type of harassments, violation, or insinuation of any sort against our sportswomen or our children,” said Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez.
The President of the Colombian Football Federation, Ramon Jesurun, assured that there will be no players vetoed from selection as a result of allegations they have made. The Federation claims that they have not had a single complaint of this sort from the men’s league.
There remain, however, major concerns around how seriously this issue is taken at high levels of the sporting establishement. Alvaro Gonzalez, spokesperson for women’s football in the FCF and member of the executive committee, said that he distrusts several of the testimonies, due to lack of “evidentiary documents.” He even accused the alleged victims of assault of having “an excessive eagerness for the limelight and undeserved importance.”
What Mr. Alvaro Gonzalez said is macho, misogynist, misguided, an embarrassment for football, for men, and for everything.”
Juliana Pungiluppi, Director of Institute of Family Welbeing, also revealed that later this month, President Ivan Duque will sign a decree establishing a sex crimes registry, explaining that there will be public and private positions requiring background checks.
They are going to check the judicial records of all personnel involved with minors, so that no convicted person is in contact with the children.”