The Brazilian soccer player Robinho, in 2017, with the Atlético Mineiro jersey.DOUGLAS MAGNO / AFP
Brazilian footballer Robinho used Instagram stories to announce the suspension of his contract with Santos, the club that revealed it and prepared to repatriate him even though he had been convicted in the first instance for rape.
"With a lot of sadness in my heart, I come to tell you that I have made the decision, together with the president [of Santos], to suspend my contract at this difficult time in my life."
A few minutes later, the club's Twitter profile published a note stating that Santos and Robinho, “by mutual agreement, have decided to suspend the validity of the contract signed on October 10 so that the player can focus exclusively on his defense in the judicial process taking place in Italy ”.
It was the result of a Friday in which the pressure on Santos for the new signing reached a new level.
Hours earlier, the Globo Esporte website had published a report with the transcript of telephone interceptions and exchanges of messages that were used as evidence by the Italian Justice to sentence the player for gang rape in 2017, in the first trial of the case .
"My goal has always been to help Santos Futebol Clube and, if I get in the way in any way, I'd better go and concentrate on my personal affairs," Robinho added in the video.
His hiring had embarrassing consequences for the Santos leaders.
Next Wednesday, the Deliberative Council of Santos must meet to ratify or not the new agreement with the player.
With the topic becoming one of the most discussed topics in public opinion in Brazil, the meeting will no longer be necessary.
NOTE À IMPRENSA
O Santos Futebol Clube eo athlete Robinho informs that, as a common agreement, they will decide to suspend the validity of the contract signed on the last day of October 10 so that the player can concentrate exclusively on his defense not process that runs in Italy.
- Santos Futebol Clube (@SantosFC) October 16, 2020
In part of the conversations, which are part of the process, the forward recalls what would have happened on the night of January 22, 2013, when a woman of Albanian origin reported having been the victim of a gang rape by Robinho and four others friends of the athlete.
In the dialogue with Ricardo Falco, who, like the player, was sentenced to nine years in prison, Robinho acknowledges having had a sexual relationship with the complainant and mocks her alleged vulnerability due to alcohol consumption.
He also told his friend that he was sure another defendant in the case "came inside [the victim]."
“I laugh because I couldn't care less.
The woman was completely drunk, she doesn't even know what happened, "he said, according to the transcript of a conversation with musician Jairo Chagas, who played at the disco, located in Milan, the night of the events.
The Italian authorities had also tapped Chagas' phone.
In one of the conversations, the musician says that he saw Robinho sticking "his penis in [the girl's] mouth", but the forward, who at that time played for Milan, quickly rebuked him.
"That's not fucking."
In another conversation, this time with a friend, Chagas summarizes the act —which he denied witnessing before the Justice— that the group of Brazilians carried out: "That is called rape."
In the sentence in the first instance, Judge Mariolina Panasiti explains that she made the decision after verifying in the case file that the defendants had offered the victim drinks until she was "unconscious and unable to object."
It indicated that Robinho and Falco showed, especially in the intervened conversations, an "absolute contempt" for the complainant, "exposed to repeated humiliations, as well as serious acts of sexual violence."
According to the judge, the defendants showed “unmistakable signs of unscrupulousness and almost awareness of future impunity”, which led one of the defendants (Robinho) “to laugh several times at the incident, thus highlighting an absolute lack of respect for the condition of the victim ”.
Throughout the week, given the negative repercussion of the announcement of the then hiring of Santos, the lawyer Marisa Alija, Robinho's representative, threatened to sue journalists who referred to the player as "convicted", arguing that, As long as the case is not ultimately tried, he should be held innocent.
On social media, Alija alleged that there is no evidence for the preliminary conviction of his client and described the criticism of the club for hiring him as "Internet stoning."
The lawyers consulted by EL PAÍS understand that, even with the telephone recordings, Robinho's defense may try to annul the evidence used by the prosecution in the second instance trial, scheduled for December of this year.
"The right to defense applies in all countries that adopt the democratic rule of law, as is the case in Brazil and Italy," explains lawyer Tiago Lenoir, master in law and specialist in criminology.
"At any point in the process, the defense can present new evidence to prove the innocence of the accused, even after the trial is over."
Sponsors condemn Santos' position
In 2009, when he was playing for Manchester City, Robinho was also singled out as a sex offender by a woman he had met at a nightclub.
He even testified at a police station in England, but the case was dismissed.
If ultimately convicted in Italy, the player can still appeal to other courts to avoid serving his sentence in jail.
Since it is a crime committed outside the country, the Brazilian Constitution does not provide for the extradition of citizens born in the national territory.
It would be necessary to open a new judicial process in Brazil to evaluate the possible execution of the sentence.
Before finally suspending the hiring, Santos did everything to keep it.
In an attempt to avoid outrage on the part of fans, Santos issued a statement on Wednesday stating that it would not sentence the athlete early and extolling his team record.
The club, which recently promoted campaigns to combat violence against women, does not believe it is contradicting its institutional position with the statement.
"Unfortunately we live in the era of cancellations, the culture of Internet courts and judgments as hasty as they are definitive, but we are sure that Santos fans will understand that it is exclusively for the Justice to judge."
Both Orlando Rollo, president of the club and investigator of the Civil Police, and coach Cuca had been defending the hiring of the player.
“Robinho is a wonderful person, an example of a player.
I hope it helps us a lot, on and off the pitch, ”said the coach, who was convicted by Swiss courts in the 1980s, when he played for the Guild, accused of participating in the gang rape of a 13-year-old girl.
Santos players and former colleagues of the forward also praised, until Friday, his return to Brazilian football.
“I wish all the crimes in Brazil had the same repercussion in the media as the Robinho case.
How many criminals, thieves, pedophiles, corrupt and many more are idolized ... ”Zé Love, who played with Robinho at Santos in 2010, relativized.
Santos, who was reluctant to accept the seriousness of the accusations against the player, was already suffering the consequences of the contract now canceled.
The sponsors threatened to leave the club if the addition of Robinho was not reconsidered.
Orthopride, an orthodontic and cosmetic dentistry company that displayed its brand on the Santos uniform, canceled its sponsorship even before the recordings were released.
Kicaldo Alimentos, for his part, reported that he would break his advertising contract if the team kept the condemned player on the squad.
In total, Santos has nine official sponsors.