Avram Grant, former manager of Chelsea soccer club and Indian Super League franchise NorthEast United FC and one of the most powerful men in Israeli sport, will be investigated by FIFA after being accused of sexually harassing multiple women.
“Exposure,” a show on Israel’s Channel 12 TV aired a series of interviews on Sunday in what was an investigative report revealing that Grant had made unwelcome approaches while claiming to help them progress their careers.
Fifa had acknowledged Grant’s enduring status in the game in December, when the governing body requested him to coach a Fifa World Legends squad, which included retired legends and Fifa President Gianni Infantino, in a match against an Arab Legends team in Qatar.
“Given the nature of the allegations being made, FIFA’s ethics committee will look into the matter,” Fifa said in a statement to The Associated Press.
“When it comes to misconduct and abuse in football, we wish to reiterate that Fifa takes any allegations reported to it very seriously.”
The broadcast said that the 66-year-old attempted to touch and kiss the women against their will, tried to coerce them into sex and hinted he could harm their careers if they did not cooperate.
The women, whose voices were altered and their faces silhouetted to protect their identities during the broadcast, included a recently released soldier, a fashion model and a female sports broadcaster who said he sent her numerous harassing text messages.
Grant told Channel 12 that he had always attempted to treat everyone he encountered with respect and issued an apology in light of the accusations.
“I never meant to act unfairly or to hurt any woman in any way,” he said. “Anyone who felt uncomfortable or was hurt by me, I’m sorry for that and apologize from the bottom of my heart.”