Federico Alba back on tour after court trial for alleged sex abuse

Italian admitted he owed his success to being young and having a big card

Federico Alba, the 14-time European Tour winner and world No 841 on the Order of Merit, has gone into public rehabilitation after revelations about his homosexuality last year.

The 50-year-old has been holed up in central Sicily studying after fleeing to the south in August after his name surfaced in a court trial, where he denied hiring underage boys for sexual purposes.

“It is not a battle for credibility; it is just a matter of being at peace with myself. If there is one thing I wish to hear again after years of doing what I have to do in sport, it is: ‘My son, how can you even consider doing something like this?’,” Alba said in his first public interview in years to Corriere della Sera.

A 2016 media report had led to accusations that Alba had abused his sexual dominance in a playing game called Let’s Do It, an arrangement whereby high-earning professionals would hire young boys or young men to compete against them. His subsequent attempts to hide his background led to his 2011 departure from the European Tour and confirmed exclusion from a 2013 match-play event involving his fellow pros.

“To move out of Sicily it was really hard for me, the language was really difficult, but life has come back slowly in Sicily.”

Alba came out publicly in his 2008 autobiography Roberto’s Letters: My Life in Golf and hoped for reconciliation. But after making a comeback last year, he left the island to study at a coaching centre in Munich after identifying “two or three people on social media who revealed the truth” about him.

The “two or three people” he referred to may have included a friend who knew his private life, a local television reporter or one of the boys who allege he hired them to pose as tourists. “There was a gentleman who pointed out a flagrant error to me. Now I can sleep easily,” Alba said.

The children first spoke to the media about Alba in July 2014, when the Italian Golf Federation reacted swiftly to complaints from the PGA Tour about his hiring. At the time, Alba said he hired all those who came to his house, after having seen them “play golf on paper” and that he only paid them for participation in his competitions, not in cash.

This story has been amended from an earlier version which reported that Federico Alba said the coach was his father. Alba himself said it was a friend who told him of this supposed mistake.

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