Indifference in Vallecas at the premiere of the coach who encouraged a gang rape
One hour left until Charles Santiso debut as coach of Female Vallecano Ray and around the sports city of the club there are more television cameras than fans, a reflection of the imbalance between media expectation and amateur indifference by the coach who was going to score all afternoon. There is only half an hour left and the same thing keeps happening. It's 4:30 p.m. on a Wednesday that turns out to be the warmest and sunniest day Madrid has seen in months, and on top of that, the men's team hosts Mallorca in the Cup quarter-finals just a few hours later. The elements are against this Valencia-Ray.
Little by little, in the form of a trickle, the fans are arriving, almost all of them anonymous. "I am a woman, what am I going to say? Well, she is outrageous, a shame. But I come to see them, who are the important ones," says a young follower asked about Santiso's hiring after the audio in which he encouraged a gang rape. "You only come when there is shit," another responds to the press, with a good deal of reason, when asked.
The aforementioned anonymity is broken by Rita Maestre, spokesperson for Más Madrid in the City Council of the capital. "Has explicitly encouraged gang rape, in no way can occupy this position. It is a new sign that Rayo does not take care of its players," he denounces before a tangle of microphones before sitting in the portable stands of the Vallecano field, in which barely two hundred people have gathered, being generous.
The benches are located on the opposite side of the stands, which in a certain way protects Santiso from any personal comments. Faced with the barrage of criticism and contempt received in the previous days, what he actually receives from Vallecas is indifference. Normal.
10 minutes into the match, vital for both teams in their fight not to go down, the only reflection of the earthquake of recent days appears, in the form of two banners placed from outside the facilities. "The fringe does not go away, it was sexist". "Santiso encourages violence. Presa protects him". That's where everything related to the storm begins and ends.
Last Friday, Rayo announced the hiring of Santiso to try to reverse the team's poor run of results, clearly bottom of the league table. The decision immediately found the frontal rejection of Rayista fans and supporters clubs, even qualifying the coach as "macho degenerate".
The reason for the rejection was the content of an audio in which Santiso encourages the members of his former technical staff to do "like those of Arandina"referring to the three soccer players who were accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl and finally two of them convicted of sexual abuse, in a controversial sentencewhich pondered the girl's maturity and the absence of evidence to prove the aggravating circumstance of intimidation during the events.
The Rayo coach pointed out that they should look for a woman who was "of legal age so as not to get into jaris [sic] Y charge us there all together". "That's what really unites a staff and a team. Look at those from Arandina, they went straight to promotion," added Santiso in a few words spoken four years ago.
The Rayo players issued a statement on Tuesday, through AFE, dismissed as lukewarm by many fans: "We disapprove and reject these statements for being contrary to dignity of women and that are of a seriousness that is not acceptable in any case. [...] We want to make it clear that if these words had corresponded to facts, we would have reported it immediately to the judicial authority.
Futpro, the majority union, also spoke out against the hiring of Santiso, noting that they are working "in effective measures that prevent the Primera Iberdrola team from having a coach with those precedents".
"I can't understand why Rayo makes a contract that makes me blush and that is the last thing our female footballers deserve. Santiso's statements are nauseating, undignified and terrifying", declared publicly the president of the Higher Sports Council, Jose Manuel Franco. The RFEFfor its part, has placed in the hands of its Ethics Committee the hiring of the 31-year-old technician.
Santiso, after days of tidal waves, published a statement on Tuesday night through the club's website in which he says he feels "sorry and ashamed" for an "unfortunate, and in very bad taste, unforgivable macho joke", emphasizing that he has no criminal record of any kind, "much less sexual". Words that have not lowered the tension around him.
"They are at the limit"
This whole situation once again puts the focus on the conditions suffered by the players of the club he presides over Raul Martin Presawho has defended the hiring of Santiso and his continuity in office. “They are at the limit”, summary from the environment of some soccer players whom the club has forbidden to speak, according to Radio Marca and confirmed by this newspaper. "But that's not new, they've been banned from talking to the press for a long time," sources very close to the red-and-red dressing room point out.
As reported by El Periódico de España, the Rayo players live in a unworthy precariousness for any athletemore so in the case of participants in a league already declared professional by the CSD, waiting for the clubs to definitively agree on Statutes that ratify it.
In their day to day, the players do not have a Gym, since the one in the Sports City has been left, by covid regulations, for the exclusive use of the men's team. Something that has happened in more clubs, only that the rest have been concerned with finding an alternative for their players, reaching agreements with private gyms.
They also do not have medical care specifically, beyond the ambulance that must be present in all matches, reaching situations such as the one that occurred during Athletic's visit to Vallecas. In it, the doctor from Bilbao had to assist the rayista Camila Saez after suffering a severe blow to the head for which he ended up in a hospital.
The neglect of the players extends outside the field, given that some of them live in rented apartments that the club should pay, which argues that these conditions do not appear in the contracts. From the environment of the soccer players they say that this matter is "controlled", in the sense that there is no imminent danger of eviction, "but not at all solved”. The same happens with the gas supply cut that they suffered in one of those flats.