The announcement by the Swiss crew PRB-Holcim to dismiss its skipper Kevin Escoffier from the Ocean Race may not be trivial. This Monday, June 5, the navigator will be the subject of a report from the French Sailing Federation (FFV) to the sexual violence unit of the Ministry of Sports for events that occurred in May in the United States, we were told. learned from consistent sources.
"This report to the "signal sport" cell (which deals almost exclusively with acts of sexual violence, editor's note) will be filed today," announced Jean-Luc Denéchau, president of the FFV, confirming Telegram information. The ministry confirmed, for its part, that the president of the federation had informed them that the report to the cell will be made on Monday.
According to a source close to the case, it would be "a sexual assault". The facts date back to an evening during a stopover of The Ocean Race in Newport, United States, from May 10 to 21. "I read the team's statement overnight from Saturday to Sunday and then what Kevin Escoffier had put on his Instagram [...]. I made a number of phone calls which led me to believe that what was being presented as an alleged incident was inappropriate behavior he allegedly exhibited towards a woman," explained Jean-Luc Denéchau.
"The facts that have been reported to me justify that I make a report to the Ministry of Sports and launch, very likely, a disciplinary procedure within the federation," he added. He did not wish to give more details on the testimonies collected at this stage, but the president of the FFV considered that "if the facts were to be proven, these are behaviors that cannot be tolerated".
The navigator will therefore not take the start of the 6th leg of The Ocean Race, a crewed round-the-world race with a stopover. On his Instagram account, the Malouin had affirmed, on Saturday, in a since deleted message, to withdraw from the race "following an alleged incident during the Newport stopover".
The Ocean Race sailors, including Kevin Escoffier, had set sail for Aarhus, Denmark, where they arrived on May 29. PRB-Holcim will therefore finish the race without its leader. And will have a lot to do to regain control of the race, which he had taken from the start of the event, in January, but which he had to give in to the American team 11th Hour, during the 5th stage.
Kevin, Escoffier, 43, won The Ocean Race in 2017-2018 and also counts the Transat Jacques-Vabre 2005 on his list.