MADRID, Spain – In a shocking development that has sent shockwaves through the world of Spanish soccer, three youth players from Real Madrid were arrested by Spanish police on Thursday. The arrests stem from allegations that the players were involved in distributing a sexually explicit video featuring a minor, adding fuel to the ongoing debate about sexism and macho behavior within Spanish soccer circles.
According to a statement issued by the police, the players, all of whom are not minors themselves, were subsequently released following a court decision. However, their mobile phones were seized for further investigation.
The case originated from a complaint filed by the mother of a 16-year-old girl residing in the Canary Islands. The complaint alleged the existence of a video recording of sexual relations involving her daughter. Although the girl maintained that the relations were consensual, the recording took place in June without her consent, and she had only recently become aware of its existence.
The arrests have come at a time when Spanish soccer has been grappling with allegations of sexual abuse against former soccer federation chief Luis Rubiales. Last month, Rubiales kissed Spain's World Cup winner, Jenni Hermoso, on the lips during a public event, sparking outrage similar to the global Me Too movement.
Luis Rubiales resigned from his position as the soccer federation chief on Sunday after weeks of resisting calls for his resignation. He is scheduled to appear before a judge on Friday to address the allegations. Rubiales continues to maintain that the kiss was mutual and consensual.
The Spanish police disclosed that the three Real Madrid players were taken into custody at the Real Madrid sports complex in Madrid, while a fourth player is currently under investigation. Of those arrested, one belongs to the reserve team, and the other two are members of the third team.
In response to the incident, Real Madrid issued a brief statement confirming that a total of four youth team players had been questioned by the police "in connection with a complaint about an alleged release of a private video via the WhatsApp messaging system."
The arrests have prompted discussions about the need for addressing sexism, consent, and respect within the realm of Spanish soccer, further highlighting the broader societal issue of gender-based misconduct. As the investigation unfolds, it is expected to bring to the forefront the importance of fostering a safe and respectful environment within the sport and beyond.