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Carter questions the ruling that acquitted Restrepo and Gajardo

Juan Luis Carter, president of the Chilean Athletic Federation, had opted for silence after the ruling of the National Sports Arbitration Committee, which acquitted Ximena Restrepo and Marcelo Gajardo of charges of discrimination and mistreatment against Berdine Castillo and Poulette Cardoch. However, after a few days, the helmsman decides to talk to Sporting.

How did you receive the ruling of the National Arbitration Committee?

What happens is that the federation is like the COCh for the Arbitration Court, because it is an autonomous entity. So, when they say “Fedachi has to respond”, Fedachi does not have to respond. The federation applied all the corresponding regulations and protocols in instances that are autonomous: Athletes Commission, Ethics Commission and Article 22. So when they say “Fedachi’s lawyer”, it is not Fedachi’s lawyer, it is from the commissions and the athletes.

And what would be your opinion, then?

By law we must remain neutral, which does not mean that we have no opinion. I think a precedent is set in Chilean sport. It seems to me that in this arbitration court, although it may be a valid instance, there are things that are obvious. For example, in the most humble court of justice in Chile, you have the possibility of having a public defender, and here athletes do not have one. If they don’t have resources, they don’t have a lawyer and they can’t sit down. If they had not had the support of the lawyer who was in this case… Then there are systems that are interesting in some way but we have to review this… When they say that they have taken the dirt out of me, I say that it is a good sign because Those who have spoken against me are not informed, they are decontextualized and they see athletics by looking at themselves.

Precisely, how do you take those criticisms?

We talked about it with the coaches and leaders, athletics grew so much that it left those people behind. I look at the 29 medals that athletics won in the Bolivarians and it is crazy, if we look at the population density of Colombia, Venezuela or Ecuador. We are more efficient and today we have the possibility of qualifying 14 athletes for the Olympic Games. So, it is a very small group of people who criticize. So why do I mention athletes. Because both the government, the COCh and the International Federation say that athletes come first. So, that has to be made flesh. I am an academic who believes in justice, I believe in truth and I openly believe above all things, in the possibilities that all people have to develop, but unfortunately there are systems that are above them, that in some way are coercive. ..

What did you think of Eduardo Arévalo’s speech when he called for mediation?

I am not an expert in law, there is logic and there are times to say things. I believe that Mr. Arévalo somehow used the position he had. I’m no expert, because he’s never been in an instance like this, and he may consider it valid. It is the lawyers who would have to give their opinion. Now if I consider that he was fair, I don’t want to give an opinion. Yes, the federation set the conditions for justice to be done, making the three instances operate and even agreed to dismiss the Ethics Commission. And I don’t know where else such an important commission made up of lawyers is dismissed because there is an administrative error. I don’t know if in a court, due to an administrative error, everyone is asked to resign. I have my doubts. The federation did everything to ensure that the law was fulfilled. If it was not fulfilled or was poorly fulfilled, it was half fulfilled is an issue that those who know the law have to answer.

What did you think that the athletes could not testify?

I’m no expert, but there was a whole written statement that I imagine had value. It seems to me that if one seeks the truth one must exhaust every opportunity to know it. It is a private decision. Furthermore, I read in La Tercera that the lawyer Sebastián Buré says that the other party did not complete the procedure either and that it was not an obligation. I have no judgment about that, but there is certain evidence that must be analyzed.

Do you have the conviction that what the complainants said happened?

I am honest with you, I have not contacted the athletes, because I wanted to distance myself because one can be an interested party in some cases, because in the end truth and justice have to prevail. Now, the seriousness of the events is what a court determines, but in this case there is much more evidence that the events did occur than not.

Gert Weil criticized you harshly and stated that you told your daughter and María Ignacia Montt that the federation was not going to help them because they came from rich families. That’s true?

I felt a little sorry that Gert Weil made such judgments. One can understand that she is emotionally affected by what it means that a very important person in her family is involved, but what she says is not true. The class struggle is absurd. It’s a lie. The thing is that in its time athletics was different and the athletes came from a single socioeconomic sector, but today the doors of the federation were opened to all regions. I understand that there may be discomfort, but saying that is serious. I did not say it. I even remember the conversation that took place with a group of athletes, not just them. There are witnesses and it is easy to prove it. I explained to them how difficult it was for an athlete from the regions to get to compete in Santiago, which meant the cost of tickets, accommodation and food and, therefore, we have to use more resources on it. I hope his spirit has calmed down and, knowing him, I don’t think he will admit that he was wrong. But I am hoping that he will reconsider his inner strength and ask the other people who were there. Or he also realizes that athletics is not what he experienced and that his comments contribute nothing.

And how is your relationship with Ximena Restrepo, who is also vice president of World Athletics?

Ximena was presented by Chile in its first election, with the support of the board of directors and me. Then, in a second stage, where perhaps it was a little more difficult, but I must admit that I accompanied her in her campaign, because she believed that South America and Chile deserved the possibility of having her there. He is an athletics figure that I respect a lot. I am not going to comment on it, because I think it is not appropriate. I have read what she has said. She says ask me and I say ask her.

Can relationships be recomposed?

I have done my job of talking to the athletes, probing with the coaches. We are preparing to go to the Iberoamericano in May, with a team of about 40 athletes. I think things are good, the technicians are very well connected, except for today’s discomfort. There are no more than 10 people, some will take sides and take the other side, but as justice is done, that will calm down. Without a doubt, the ruling did not bring the peace that was expected, but I believe that the successes of athletics will help. Athletics is not the same whether it is in a regular moment or a bad moment. It is in a good moment and that goes a long way to generating a better environment. I believe that the only ones who have the least responsibility here are the athletes. So, you hope they get back together, and I think once again, and I say this knowingly, coaches are vital. They are very united and are called to help a lot in this.

Even Marcelo Gajardo?

I don’t want to comment on Marcelo. It makes me sad because he is a young coach who always received a lot of support from the federation and said that I was a gangster. And it really makes me sad because deep down the fact that I had removed him is because he had gone beyond the two leaders he had, which were Felipe de la Fuente and Juan Pablo Raveau, and within the regulatory powers that They are, I did what was for the good of the team. It wasn’t for my own good in particular. When he says I’m a gangster, I don’t know what he’s talking about. Honestly, that’s a serious insult, but I hope that somehow he thinks what he said. I hope to speak with him face to face as soon as possible.

Are you going to support the athletes if they go to TAS or another instance?

The federation has fulfilled an institutional role and we are going to maintain governance. We have just summoned the applicants to reconstitute our Ethics Commission. We are also waiting for information to meet as a board, but the actions taken by the athletes are individual. The federation will guarantee that the spaces will be available as far as possible and everything will be done according to the powers and institutions so that justice is done. We cannot close our eyes to athletes who feel dissatisfied with a mistake. That we intervene to go against other institutions? We have to weigh it because we must maintain a balance, but we cannot be blind in the face of certain circumstances, nor can we act hastily in the face of others.

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