Argentina: What is the scandal in the soccer lower divisions about?

Investigations point out to cases of sexual abuse of minors occurring in three first division clubs

Argentina: What is the scandal in the soccer lower divisions about?

Leer en español: Argentina: ¿En qué consiste el escándalo en las divisiones inferiores?

Recent investigations and minors’ testimonies would be uncovering one of the biggest soccer scandals in Argentina. The authorities believe that within three of the first division clubs in Argentina -River Plate, Independiente, and Temperley- there have been cases of sexual abuse in the juveniles divisions (also known as basic forces).

The scandal began at the Independiente de Avellaneda club, the most winning club in the history of the Libertadores Cups. According to justice, a minor, belonging to the lower divisions of Avellaneda, said that inside the club's pension (where the promises of the team from other provinces and other countries live) he had been raped as well as other 19 companions. Justice acted and captured a former member of the lower divisions (19 years old). According to the authorities, this person would act as a bridge between the minors and an alleged network of prostitution within the club.

In the same case, Martin Bustos, referee of the National B (second division), a 24-year-old student, a football representative, a Public Relations manager, Leonardo Cohen Arazi, and the lawyer Tomás Beldí were also captured for aggravated cover-up by that supposedly destroyed Bustos' cell phone.

The prosecution accuses them of bribing minors who live in the club's pensions and take them to exclusive apartments in the city of Buenos Aires to abuse them in exchange for money (50 dollars), promises of promotion, sportswear, and even bus tickets to visit their families who live in other provinces.

Likewise, it is now known that this network would be operating in the Temperley club. According to the authorities, they would be investigating cases that occurred in the small club of Lomas de Zamora in Buenos Aires.

The organization Avivi (dedicated to protect and help rape victims) also uncovered the case in River Plate, the most winning club in the Argentine tournament and one of the largest in the country. The head of the NGO, Maria Elena Leuzzi, says that there are at least three minors who belonged to the lower club and claim to have been abused until 2011. The victims would be two soccer players and one player Volley.  According to Leuzzi, this complaint was made by a doctor who worked in the giant of Núñez for 7 years.

According to the doctor, these three athletes had reported that a transgender person, nicknamed "La Lore", entered the pension 3 times a week and abused them. According to the doctor, this same person may have been in charge of building a bridge between these young people and people outside River Plate.

At the moment, these processes are isolated cases, but according to the doctor, this could escalate to a network of pedophilia and child prostitution. For this reason, it is not ruled out that there are more cases.

Although the doctor said that there was some cover up of the leadership of River at that time, the three clubs have expressed their intentions to help with the investigations.

The investigations will continue and it is feared that these three cases are, just the tip of the iceberg.


Latin American Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández
Translated from “ Argentina: ¿En qué consiste el escándalo en las divisiones inferiores?”

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