Pandora’s box

10 Costa Rican female referees are accusing Fifa instructor Patricia Miranda of sexual harassment and abuse of authority. 

By Romain Molina

After reporting on a network of sexual favours to promote international referees across all Concacaf, the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football, people are starting to talk openly about decades of abuse and harassment. 

10 female referees in Costa Rica made an official complaint to their federation (FEDEFUT) about Patricia Miranda, the leading referee instructor who also has had numerous assignments for Concacaf and Fifa. “She used to salute me with enormous kisses and hugs that made me feel uncomfortable,” a complainant testified . “It wasn’t normal. The kisses were prolonged, noisy, my cheeks wet from her saliva. It disgusted me. She would hold my cheeks in her hands which meant I couldn’t really move away from her. Her hugs were also sexual, her body brushing my breasts.”

In documents seen by Josimar, the other complainants also spoke about being kissed and touched in an inappropriate way, and about all kinds of moral abuse. “In 2020, she called me saying she had pictures and videos of me with someone in the refereeing community. At that time, I was in a relationship with that person, but she indicated to me that I would get into trouble and suffer repercussions if we didn’t stop. She invaded my personal life,” said another referee among several other referees claiming that Patricia Miranda was furious when she learnt they had partners. “She wanted to control our life. She insulted us. It was dreadful.”

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