Azkals cleared of sexual harassment charges, but draw suspensions

Weiss, Palami also suspended; team to appeal

The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) Disciplinary Committee has cleared players Angel Guirado and Lexton Moy of the sexual harassment charges filed by FIFA official Cristy Ramos, according to reports, but slapped the two with one-match suspensions for a "breakdown in discipline".

“Cristy Ramos verdict out: PFF Disciplinary committee finds the players innocent of the sexual harassment charges, pls RT” tweeted longtime football supporter Craig Burrows Friday afternoon.

PHI_Azkals, which is the official twitter account of the Philippine national football team, tweeted a similar message: “PFF Disciplinary Committee clears Azkals of the sexual harassment charge filed by Cristy Ramos.”

It will be recalled that Ramos filed the sexual harassment charges shortly after the Azkals’ friendly against Malaysia last February 29, where she served as match commissioner. Ramos alleged that during the pre-match team check in the Azkals’ locker room, Moy made a remark on a bra size which she felt alluded to, while Guirado stood in front of her wearing only his underwear.

To quote part of the letter that Ramos sent to Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Disciplinary Committee Chairman Lim Kia Tong:

“As I called the players individually so that we could check their accreditation cards and kits, Philippine player Lexton Moy (no. 25) stood by my right side and said in a loud voice 'Must be a B cup,' to which the players laughed loudly. As I was the only female in the room, he was apparently referring to my bra size. He could not have been talking about men's athletic cups, as their sizes are specified as extra-small, small, medium, large, and extra-large vis-a-vis cup sizes of women's brassieres, which are specified in letters.

“Additionally when I checked Philippine player Angel Guirado (no. 12) he stood in front of me purposely just wearing his briefs and made no attempts to wear shorts or cover his underwear. Again, the players  loudly laughed while I was checking this player.”

The committee, though, issued sanctions against Guirado, Moy and four others, including coach Hans Michael Weiss and team manager Dan Stephen Palami for a "breakdown in discipline" and "failure of leadership". The two players, along with team captain James Younghusband and assistant coach Edzel Bracamonte, were slapped one-match suspensions while Weiss and Palami, who were not in the locker room at the time of the inspection, were meted two-match suspensions.

In a statement, Palami said they were not surprised that Guirado and Moy were exonerated, but added they would be appealing the suspensions.

"The Disciplinary Committee has found no evidence of sexual harassment and we thank them for that," Palami said in the statement. "It is to the relief of the team and the management that such a serious charge has been found to be without foundation but this is no surprise to us.

"However, other parties not involved with the case were handed suspensions. With full respect to the Disciplinary Committee we will be appealing the decision."

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