Former national fencing coach ruled permanently ineligible by US Center for SafeSport

Mauro "Maher" Hamza, a former U.S. national fencing coach, has been ruled permanently ineligible by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, which cites sexual misconduct involving minors as the reason for the ban.

The ban, subject to appeal, took effect Tuesday, according to the SafeSport website. SafeSport is an independent body tasked by Congress with protecting athletes in the Olympic movement.

Hamza, 57, of metropolitan Houston also was suspended in 2014 for sexual misconduct, according to the SafeSport website.

Hamza did not reply to requests seeking comment left by USA TODAY Sports on a phone number listed in his name. A woman who answered the phone at Hamza's former fencing academy in Houston said Hamza is is in Egypt, where he was born.

Hamza coached for the U.S. men’s national team from 2009 to 2011. He served as an Olympic coach for Egypt during the 2004 Athens Games and represented Egypt at the Olympics in 1988, 1992 and 1996.

He also coached at Texas A&M and Rice.

In March 2021, a 'Jane Doe' plaintiff filed a lawsuit saying Hamza sexually assaulted her in the 1990s when she was a minor, according to court records. USA Fencing also was listed as a defendant.

The lawsuit was settled in December 2022, according to court records. Bloomberg Law News described the plaintiff as "a once-aspiring Olympic athlete."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fencing coach Mauro Hamza ruled ineligible by US Center for SafeSport