Fedefútbol concluded investigation for accusations of sexual violence that splash the referee Ímer Machado

Ímer Machado and Óscar Julián Ruiz, investigated by the FIFA Ethics Committee / (Colprensa)

On the afternoon of this Friday, May 13, the Colombian Football Federation (FHR) issued an official statement on its website in response to the announcement about the start of an investigation by the Fifa Ethics Committee for a complaint that affects retired referees Imer Lemuel Machado Y Oscar Julian Ruizaccused of being involved in a case of sexual abuse and harassment.

Given that Machado currently works for the FCF as Colombia’s chief referee, The Disciplinary Commission of the governing body of national football reported that it opened a preliminary official letter to investigate the complaints of former collegiate Hárold Perilla to “give testimony and provide evidence that would allow the disciplinary action to continue.”

According to the Attorney General’s Office and later by Fedefútbol, Perilla would not have appeared before the judicial authorities, which is why the process – at the level of complaints – will not continue..

Through four key points, this was argued by the federation to conclude the investigations at the local level after the announcement of the ethical and disciplinary scope of Fifa:

1. Regarding the indications of alleged conduct of injury or endangerment of the freedom or sexual integrity of a third party by Mr. Ímer Lemuel Machado Barrera, by order of August 12, 2020, the Disciplinary Commission of the Colombian Football Federation opened ex officio, preliminary investigation.

2. By virtue of the foregoing, the complainant was summoned so that, if it was in his interest, he would give testimony and provide evidence that would allow the disciplinary action to continue.

3. Taking into account that the presumed interested party did not appear and in accordance with the superior and other complementary norms, as well as the filing of the investigation by the Office of the Attorney General of the Nation, the case was concluded due to the procedural impossibility of continuing with the same.

4. It is noteworthy that said action was carried out within the framework of the mission and competence of the entity and the Disciplinary Commission.

FCF statement on former Colombian referee Ímer Lemuel Machado / (fcf.com.co)
FCF statement on former Colombian referee Ímer Lemuel Machado / (fcf.com.co)

According to the British newspaper Guardian, The Fifa Ethics Committee received complaints of sexual abuse against former referee Óscar Julián Ruizwho currently works as Fifa refereeing instructorand it is also head of referees of the FCF with Ímer Lemuel Machado.

There are eleven people who claim to have been sexually abused by Óscar Julián RuizLikewise, there are more than 30 witnesses who would put the man born in Villavicencio in trouble. The accusations also splash the current director of the commission of referees in the FCF, Imer Machadoof whom have been registered 14 complaints of sexual abuse.

It should be noted that Óscar Julián Ruiz was investigated in 2019 by the Colombian authorities after being accused of harassing three referees and raping a minor. However, the case was closed, since the judge in charge of the process did not find enough evidence to charge him.

The FIFA ethics committee stated that is investigating a complaint of alleged sexual abuse and harassment after receiving the request by the lawyers of the also former collegiate Hárold Perilla.

On August 28, 2020, The Attorney General’s Office made the decision to file the investigation due to the “lack of convincing evidence” in the complaint filed by Perilla for the events that would have happened from 2009 to 2016.

Nevertheless, Guardian published on Monday, May 9, that Perilla’s lawyers sent (in March) a detailed request to FIFA to investigate the case.

Perilla alleges that Ruiz sexually abused and harassed several other referees, while other Colombian soccer refereeing professionals claim that Óscar also forced others to have sex with him in order to get a promotion. In this regard, these were Hárold’s statements in 2019:

Machado bullied me, called me names, touched my tail, touched my testicles. He tried to discredit my work because we were competition. Today I have a criminal complaint. From Ímer I have thousands of experiences of this type and I have several witnesses

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Fedefútbol concluded investigation for accusations of sexual violence that splash the referee Ímer Machado