“You need to have sex with Fifa officials”

For more than a decade, officials from Concacaf and Fifa created a system where female referees had to give sexual favours in order to get international assignments.

By Romain Molina

Warned over a year ago with testimonies from some of the referees who had felt threatened to perform sexual acts in exchange for international refereeing assignments, Fifa didn’t suspend one of the most senior officials involved in this network: Ronald Gutiérrez, until recently Fifa’s director of development of referees. In January this year, he was removed. “They took this decision because they needed to renew their personnel with younger people,” Gutiérrez says to Josimar. “At no point, in any way, did they report to me that my name was involved in any investigation for anomalies when I held the position.”

Unlike Rodolfo Sibrian, the Fifa instructor from El Salvador, Ronald Gutiérrez has never been denounced publicly or legally for sexual harassement or sextortion. Nevertheless, his actions were brought to the attention of Fifa’s Ethics Committee by several Haitian individuals. “It was an open secret,” a former employee of Haïtian FA who doesn’t want his name to be public for safety reasons tells Josimar. He’s still living in Haïti. “And let me tell you, he wasn’t the only Fifa official to receive girls.”

A former international referee from Costa Rica, Gutiérrez officiated in World Cup qualification games during the nineties and at several Concacaf Gold Cup finals. After retiring in the 2000s, he served on the Concacaf Referees Committee, and most notably as Fifa’s director of development of referees, he has travelled a...

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