Sofia, Bulgaria: Recently, the Bulgarian Judo Federation (BFD) appointed the French judo coach, Alain Schmitt, who had domestic violence charges on himself, for which the federation has been criticised. Following this, BDF now has defended its decision of appointing Schmitt as the head coach, saying, “a specialist to lead us to the Olympics in Paris” in 2024.
The announcement of hiring Schmitt as the Judo coach was made on February 14, 2022, following which rights activists criticised BDF.
BFD President Rumen Stoilov cleared the rumours and, replying to the criticism, stated that the federation had a conversation with the newly appointed coach on the matter, and after knowing all the sides, the decision was taken to hire him as the national judo coach.
“We are absolutely aware of the situation. A man who has not been convicted is innocent”, the federation’s president cited.
Meanwhile, earlier expressing his excitement and delight over being appointed as the head coach, Schmitt, asserted, “I am very pleased and proud to represent a new nationality. We are looking forward in one direction only”.
Julia Andonova, who is from the PULSE Foundation, an NGO that deals with domestic violence, expressing her point of view on the matter stated, “There is a moral issue here, and it is to what extent we take domestic violence as something normal because this is a practice throughout our nation“.
Schmitt was freed from the Bobigny criminal court, citing that there were not enough pieces of evidence to prove that he assaulted her wife. On the other hand, numerous women’s rights activists warned that hiring Schmitt as the head coach of the European country’s national Judo team will send a false message in the society, that it is okay to beat and assault women in the name of domestic violence, adding that this decision will throughout a negative image of the country at international level.