Brazil's soccer head says rape convictions for Alves and Robinho end "nefarious chapter"

SAO PAULO — Brazil’s soccer federation president Ednaldo Rodrigues said Friday that the rape convictions of former footballers Dani Alves and Robinho end “one of the most nefarious chapters” in the country’s sports history.

Rodrigues said in a statement that the executives at governing body CBF and its coaching staff feel sorry for “the victims of the brutal crimes committed by the former footballers.”

Robinho was jailed Thursday after a high court authorized his nine-year jail sentence from a trial in Italy to be served in Brazil. This week, Alves got the opportunity to leave prison on bail while awaiting the appeal of his conviction for rape.

“The yellow shirt that Brazilian athletes wear on the pitch is much more than a jersey. Just like soccer to Brazil is more than a sport. Those who wear it need to defend the feelings and values of a whole country they represent,” Rodrigues said. “It is embarrassing that an athlete feels comfortable to commit such perversity as if all he achieved through sport will stop him from being punished.”

Hours earlier, Brazil’s new coach Dorival Júnior said Robinho was “a fantastic person” in a press conference in London ahead of Saturday’s friendly between his team and England at Wembley Stadium. Players of the country’s women’s national team expressed their disgust with Júnior’s comment on social media throughout Friday.

“This is unbelievable, it really is,” midfielder Ary Borges said on social media.

Earlier this week, the head of Brazil’s delegation in London, Palmeiras chairperson Leila Pereira, said the silence of footballers around the cases of Alves and Robinho was “a slap in the face of all women.”

Rodrigues also said Brazil’s bid to host the 2027 Women’s World Cup “represents the biggest project of the current administration to promote the participation of women in soccer, fight sexism and develop the sport.” The host country for 2027 is expected to be named in May.

Alves remains jailed in the Brians II prison 45 minutes from Barcelona where he was been for the past 14 months. He was found guilty of raping a woman in a nightclub in December 2022 and sentenced to four years, six months in prison. He denied wrongdoing during the three-day trial in February.

Spain’s state prosecutors’ office in Barcelona asked a court on Friday to reconsider its decision to grant Brazilian star Alves the opportunity to leave prison.

His requests to be released on bail before the trial were denied because the court deemed him a flight risk.

Since the early hours of Friday, Robinho is an inmate at Tremembe penitentiary in rural Sao Paulo state. He is expected to serve at least 40% of his nine-year sentence for raping a woman in Italy.

Brazil criminal law states suggests Robinho could get a more flexible jail regime for good behavior in prison. He will be eligible in 2027, when almost half of his sentence has been served. He continues to deny any wrongdoing.


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