A former World Cup referee has been accused of sexual harassment by three former colleagues. Colombian ref Oscar Ruiz allegedly asked for sexual favours in exchange for promotions – and there were repercussions if his demands were not met.
Ruiz, 49, officiated at the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups but has since hung up his whistle and was appointed as an instructor by Fifa.
Referees Harold Perilla, Carlos Chavez and Julian Mejia all said Ruiz offered to help boost their careers in exchange for sex.
Speaking to W Radio in Colombia, Perilla said: “He sexually harassed me from 2007 until I retired. “He told me to have sexual relations with him if I wanted to go far in refereeing, that I already knew which path to take.
“He didn’t stop pestering me to have physical contact. At first, he told me things that are unhealthy to hear.
“There were several episodes of harassment, the most serious one was in pre-season. He tried to touch my testicles and my bottom – I didn’t let him and that brought me a big problem with him.
“He’s very intelligent because he doesn’t leave a message, an audio message, but personally, the harassment was terrible. I denounced him as an active international referee.
“He was looking to get close to me, to touch my ear. He told me to try something new, he said he had tried it once and he never got out of it. He said he had the power to make me go far.”
Perilla also suggested that some referees who had given in to Ruiz’s demands had been promoted.
Chavez, meanwhile, told local media about an incident as they refereed a Copa Colombia match.
He said: “I left the bathroom and he touched my bottom and said: ‘This one is paying a fee tonight.’ I responded: ‘Don’t f*** around.’”
Ex-referee Mejia added that he was invited to watch watch a Champions League final with Ruiz when his compatriot touched his face and rubbed his hand up his leg.
Mejia claims that after stopping Ruiz he was not named as a referee in a Colombian match for two months.
Ruiz was accused of sexual harassment by former referee German Mauricio Sanchez in 2010 but the case was dropped in 2012 because of a lack of evidence.