A French member of the AS Dakar Sacre Coeur training team – who are ranked 2nd in Senegal’s L1 – has been arrested for sexually abusing underage male players from the football club’s youth training centre.
The suspect has been named in Senegalese media as Olivier B. Sylvain, a Frenchman from Rennes, in Brittany, who was reportedly in charge of recruitment. His official title at the club is “Responsable Cellule Performance.” The news of his arrest reportedly stems from Senegalese newspaper “Liberation”.
He was reportedly arrested on Saturday but it was only reported in local media and by the local police on Tuesday.
Dakar Sacre Coeur say on their website that they have “had to end, with immediate effect, their collaboration” with a person they say was a “volunteer at the club” who arrived in 2019, because of “inappropriate gestures” on a number of players at the formation centre.
There are reportedly at least six victims. According to at least one local news outlet, the alleged victims are said to be boys between the age of 13 to 15.
The club was reportedly alerted by medics after players from the youth training centre discussed the allegations between them, according to the club, who, it has been reported, has filed a complaint alongside the alleged victims.
After being alerted last week, the club’s management reportedly contacted the authorities. The suspect was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of having sexually abused minors, according to an unnamed Senegalese police spokesperson.
The club has also reportedly set up a psychological support system, with the club quoted in local media as saying: “All the players have been individually seen by the club psychologist.”
After the suspect’s arrest, other members of the club’s management went to the police station on Sunday along with some other players to give their testimony, according to the club’s statement. The club is planning to bring the parents of the other players of the youth training centre together to explain the situation to them, still according to the statement.
The club’s statement, reproduced in full in local media, ends with: “Given the gravity of the facts, and in order to protect our players and their families, the main concern of the club at this stage remains the protection of the alleged victims, and the full collaboration with the police and the judiciary to shed light on this case.”
AS Sacre Coeur is partnered with the French team Olympique Lyonnais. The club has professional male and female teams as well as a training centre for young players that boasts some 65 teenagers, according to the club’s website.
AS Dakar Sacre Coeur was founded in 2005 in the heart of the Senegalese capital Dakar and was in L2 from 2012 to 2017 before making it to the Ligue 1.
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