Qatari officials had raised concerns over the official’s behaviour last year and asked the football agency to stop sending him to the country.
FIFA has come under fire after a former woman employee revealed to the New York Times (NYT) that she had been sexually harassed by Miguel Macedo, Portuguese head of the FIFA Legends programme, during her employment period.
Speaking to the Times, the former woman employee, whose identity remains anonymous, claimed her experience started when she joined Macedos’s team in the autumn of 2018.
The alleged victim claimed that Macedo often made inappropriate comments on the way she dressed and even sent “flirtatious text messages”. At one point during the same year, Macedo is accused of having groped her at the end of a performance review meeting.
“For me…that was one of the worst days,” she said.
During her time at FIFA, she often had to find ways to avoid being alone with Macedo at the office, she recounted to the NYT.
In 2019, whilst on a work trip to France for the Women’s World Cup, the FIFA official texted her to come to his hotel suit late at night she says. She declined the invitation.
It was not until later that year when she spoke to the head of the women’s soccer at FIFA, Sarai Bareman, and asked if she would help her file a complaint to Kimberly Morris, a Canadian lawyer serving as the football agency’s human resources chief.
Instead of addressing her case, Morris suggested she moves to another job.
“I took such a long time to come forward and explain my case, and it felt like I was being brushed aside.”
Preparations for an investigation process only began weeks later after she made another complaint to Joyce Cook, then FIFA’s chief member associations officer. At the time, a male colleague said that he witnessed Macedo’s inappropriate behaviour.
Other employees at FIFA aware of the case included the organisation’s president Gianni Infantino’s chief of staff, Mattias Grafstrom.
Later on 25 February, 2020, the accuser was told in a phone call that the management upheld her complaint, but it was only regarding a single comment Macedo had made in a meeting in 2018.
Doha News reached out to FIFA and the Supreme Committee For Delivery & Legacy for a comment and has yet to receive a response from either entity.
Concerns over Macedo’s misconduct have also been raised by Qatari officials last year, who had reportedly asked FIFA not to send him to the Gulf country again.
The NYT said that FIFA told the Qatari officials that Macedo had been warned about his behaviour.
In February 2021, the NYT also learned that a young woman working at the Club World Cup in Qatar informed her bosses that Macedo stroked her hair before proceeding to comment on her appearance in an event with colleagues.
Despite the seriousness of the allegations raised against him, Macedo remains at FIFA and the accuser left for a job in Qatar with the Supreme Committee for Delivery and LEgacy, without knowing if any action has been taken against her harasser.
“I wish to not see these people again but I see them all the time,” she said, commenting on the time she saw Macedo in Qatar during the FIFA Arab Cup.