Europe 1 with AFP // Photo credit: JOSE JORDAN / AFP 16:33 pm, June 05, 2023

A new case of sexual violence disrupts the world of sport on Monday. Sailor Kevin Escoffier is the subject of a report from the French Sailing Federation concerning "inappropriate behavior he allegedly had towards a woman during a party" in Newport, during a stopover of The Ocean Race.

The navigator Kevin Escoffier will be reported Monday by the French Sailing Federation (FFV) to the sexual violence cell of the Ministry of Sports for facts that occurred in May in the United States, we learned from concordant sources. "This report to the cell "signal sport" (which deals almost exclusively with acts of violence of a sexual nature, editor's note) will be filed today," Monday, told AFP Jean-Luc Denéchau, president of the FFV, confirming information from the daily Le Télégramme. The ministry confirmed to AFP that the president of the FFV had informed them that the report to the cell would be made on Monday.

"I read in the night from Saturday to Sunday the statement of the team and then what Kevin Escoffier had put on his Instagram (...). I made a number of phone calls that led me to think that what was presented as an alleged incident would be inappropriate behavior he would have had towards a woman during a party" in Newport, during a stopover of The Ocean Race, explained Jean-Luc Denéchau. "The facts that have been reported to me justify that I make a report to the Ministry of Sports and most likely launch a disciplinary procedure within the federation," he added.

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"Behaviour that cannot be tolerated"

If he did not wish to give more details on the testimonies collected at this stage, the president of the FFV considered that "if the facts were to be proven, these are behaviors that can not be tolerated". According to a source close to the case, it would be "a sexual assault". On Saturday, the Swiss crew PRB-Holcim announced the start of the 6th stage of The Ocean Race, a crewed round the world race with a stopover, without its leader Kevin Escoffier. On his Instagram account, the Malouin had said Saturday in a message deleted since withdrawing from the race "following an alleged incident during the stopover of Newport", from May 10 to 21.

After calling at Newport, The Ocean Race sailors, including Kevin Escoffier, headed for Aarhus (Denmark), where they arrived on May 29. PRB-Holcim, with Escoffier as skipper, was leader of the general classification since the start in January, before ceding first place in the 5th stage to the American crew 11th Hour. Escoffier, 43, won The Ocean Race in 2017-18 and also has the 2005 Transat Jacques-Vabre to his credit.