Caracas (ANP) – A group of 24 leading Venezuelan footballers have accused former national team coach Kenneth Sormetta of misconduct. The 55-year-old coach from Panama worked for the National Football Association of Venezuela between 2008 and 2017, where he managed various youth teams. According to the footballers, he was guilty of physical and mental abuse.
24 players shared a joint statement via social media. One of them is 22-year-old Dana Costellanos of Atletico Madrid, Spain’s leading club, who was named one of FIFA’s top three footballers of 2017. Like Martens was later selected as No. 1.
“Last year one of our teammates told us he had been sexually abused by a coach since he was 14,” the statement said. “We have decided to break the silence to prevent this coach from creating more victims of physical, psychological and sexual abuse and intimidation.”
USA and Australia
Jeremiah has not yet commented on the allegations. After leaving Venezuela, she served as the national coach for women in the Dominican Republic and Panama. Venezuelan footballers are calling on the World Federation of FIFA and national associations to ban Jeremiah from women’s football.
In recent days, former footballers from the United States and Australia have also published stories about sexual abuse and intimidation. The revelations of American players Ciniat Forrelli and Meliana Shim about English coach Paul Riley led to his departure from North Carolina courage. As a result of this affair, the highest American women’s league, the NWSL, canceled games last weekend. NWSL President Lisa Baird has resigned following a leak from Riley that she ignored signals for abusive behavior.
The Australian Football Association is investigating evidence of former national team players being sexually harassed. Lisa de Vanna, who has won 150 caps, said she often encountered misbehavior early in her career. Another former football star, Raleigh Topson, also said he felt intimidated as a teenager.
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