Overmars, or the new look of football clubs in the face of harassment

The Man Utd pushed Mason Greenwood aside for violation, following what he had done City with Benjamin Mendy for the same offensealthough in his case there are nine complaints. The barca agreed the departure of Albert Benaiges as coordinator of grassroots football when knowing the investigation of the newspaper 'Ara' by sexual harassmentthe reason that Ajax has used to dismiss Marc Overmars, for "a series of inappropriate messages sent to multiple female colleagues over an extended period of time." "I am ashamed. Certainly, for someone in my position, this behavior is unacceptable," admitted the former Barça player and former sports director of the Dutch team. Rayo, for the moment, continues to maintain Carlos Santiso, the women's coach who said that a gang rape would unite the coaching staff. Have the reactions of football clubs changed in the face of sexist harassment or is it only moving to avoid receiving social sanction?

"The clubs are not more sensitive, they are pushed"

Marina Subirats - Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the UAB


"The clubs as such is not that they are more sensitive to harassment, it is that they are pushed by the fact that there are complaints that are made public through the media. Surely many still think the same, but they can't say it because public opinion is on another point, the same thing that happens with churches and sexual abuse. The insistence of women and feminism has meant that this has begun to be denounced and punished and that is why we have noticed a change", she values Marina Subirats. The emeritus professor of Sociology at the UAB considers that "now the clubs already know that they are better off if they move forward because if they don't do so after a case comes to light it will seem that they didn't give a damn but that they have done it so that they don't they are criticized because what seemed so normal before is ugly," says the former director of the IWomen's Institute.

"The clubs as such is not that they are more sensitive to harassment, it is that they are pushed by the fact that there are complaints that are made public through the media"

Marina Subirats - Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the UAB


"All the changes that have come in sport, which is considered a segregated, closed and conservative activity, are coming from society. When we talk about equality, the changes that have taken place in this area have not come from sport but from common labor legislation and social movements represented by women", agrees Maria Jose Lopez. Co-director of the legal advice of the AFE, she has been working in the field of sport for two decades. "The one that comes out of the hole is by a dragging movement from the outside to the inside, not the other way around," she says. "We always talk about values ​​in sport. If we talk about values ​​and nauseating behaviors occur, the exemplarity has to be much greater".

Annex in the agreement

Led by López, Annex 2 on the prevention and intervention protocol against sexual harassment was added to the women's football collective agreement. "Every person has the right to receive correct, respectful and dignified treatment, respecting their privacy and their physical and moral integrity, not being able to be subjected under any circumstances to sexual or gender-based harassment, regardless of who the victim or harassing person is in the reported situation". A section that the AFE invoked to urge Rayo to dispense with the technician Charles Santiso. The Vallecano women's team was already on the verge of disappearing in 2014 due to the refusal of the president, Raúl Martin Presa, to give even one euro to this section. The choice of the coach is one more step in the escalation of the president's decisions, after stopping paying the rent for the soccer players' flats and leaving them without a doctor, without a gym and even without gas. The case is reminiscent of Raith Rovers, from the Scottish Second Division, who saw how the women's team decided to leave the club and ask to compete under another name after the signing of footballer David Goodwillie, convicted of rape. The club reversed the hiring but neither the women's team nor the sponsors plan to return.

"As the case of the Rayo coach shows, there is still a long way to go for sport to be a place free of sexist violence for all women"

Ángeles Rodríguez - Secretary of State for Equality and against Gender Violence


"As the case of the Rayo coach shows, there is still a long way to go before the sport be a place free of sexist violence for all women", regrets Angela RodriguezSecretary of State for Equality and against gender violence. "Every football club should have a series of internal protocols to deal with this type of case. Again, what has happened with Rayo is a clear example of how not to deal with harassment and shows that many clubs still have to work to avoid harassment. Our society no longer tolerates this type of behavior and the response of the clubs must be up to par". Rodríguez explains that the future Law on Sexual Freedom, "which is at the end of its parliamentary process and which we hope will be approved soon", will precisely focus on sexual harassment, with tools to prevent it, but also to provide "repair and accompaniment to any woman who has suffered it".

Response from the Generalitat

The Generalitat is also finalizing a response in this area, which they hope will have the complicity of sports entities. The deputy director of Prevention and Awareness of the 'Conselleria' de Igualtat i Feminismes, Ruben Sanchez Ruiz, advances that, if the deadlines are met, in April there will be a framework protocol for addressing sexist violence and in November a national plan for its prevention. "The big clubs have to set an example first. We want alliances with the big clubs, so that they have a gender perspective and go in tune.".

"The response from federations and clubs should be faster and more forceful, the feeling is that they act as a reaction." As it happens now in the case of Overmars. "Power relations can also play a role in the workplace in the world of sport. We would like to say to all victims of offending behaviour: 'please come forward, no matter how difficult it is,'" the statement from the Amsterdam club. As more details become known, such as the fact that they sent photos of his genitals, the question is since when did he know what happened and why did he not act before the architect of the first team.

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