A federation president invited by the International Federation of Association Football (Fifa) to attend World Cup matches is a priori of a confusing banality, and does not arouse any media interest. But the situation is not quite the same when this president has just spent six months in detention, accused of having learned of a vast pedophilia scandal in the world of football in his country and of not having intervened. . This is precisely the case of Pierre-Alain Mouguingui, the president of the Gabonese Football Federation (Fegafoot), imprisoned from April to October last in the remand center of Libreville.
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Presence in the most luxurious stands of the stadiums of the small emirate, choice place to watch the opening match between Qatar and Ecuador, participation in a meeting of the executive committee of Fifa… Pierre-Alain Mouguingui’s agenda did not go unnoticed. FIFPro, the global players’ union, was openly indignant in a press release: “Pierre-Alain Mounguengui is currently under investigation for allegedly concealing widespread abuse by not reporting it to the competent authorities. This does not encourage victims and whistleblowers to risk their lives to testify. Fifa has so far not reacted.
Last August, Patrice Motsepe, the South African President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) made an official visit, where he notably met Ali Bongo Ondimba, the Gabonese Head of State and Franck Nguema, the Minister of Sports. Motsepe had taken advantage of his presence in Libreville to make a detour to the capital’s prison, in order to support Mounguengui.
As soon as the boss of Fegafoot was imprisoned on May 6, Motsepe refused to let him go, declaring that “the reasons for the arrest and detention are disturbing and unclear. Two months earlier, Véron Mosengo-Omba, the general secretary of the CIF, had also been seen in Libreville. He had notably spoken with the Minister of Sports.
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For a Gabonese football player, who wished to remain anonymous, the message sent by CAF and Fifa is bad. “These two bodies give the impression of not taking these cases of pedophilia seriously, whether in Gabon and more recently in the DRC. Have you heard FIFA react? No. It is deplorable. How do you expect the victims of these criminal acts and their families to react when they see Mounguengui parading in Doha? They will feel abandoned, not listened to, and finally say to themselves that denouncing these facts is not of much use, since Fifa and CAF seem to be disinterested in them, or even to endorse… ”
According to several sources approached by Young Africa, Fifa and CAF put pressure on the Gabonese government to obtain the release of the president of Fegafoot, re-elected on April 16. “These methods of CAF, with the support of Fifa, were not at all well perceived in Gabon”, confirms one of them.
Still, on October 27, Mounguengui obtained a provisional release. He is nevertheless far from having finished with the justice of his country, since he risks a sentence of jail closed.