Argentine soccer: new clause against gender violence

A historic decision was made in a club belonging to the Argentine League.

Footballer kicking a ball inside the playing field.

Footballer kicking a ball inside the playing field. / Photo: Pexels - Reference Image

LatinAmerican Post | Laura Viviana Guevara Muñoz

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Leer en español: Fútbol argentino: nueva cláusula por violencia de género

In recent days, the Argentine team Vélez decided for the first time to make a historical clause in the hiring of a soccer player. This is the case of Ricardo Centurión a   26-year-old player, who stands out for his great performance on the field, but is also known for causing different problems off the court.

According to several Argentine media, the clause determined by the gender department of the team, aims for the player to behave in accordance with the guidelines of the club and “to the protocol of gender violence”, according to Canal Net. If Centurión violates this clause, his contract will be terminated; It should be noted that the former Boca player will last a year as a loan, from Racing.

Among the main reasons, is the fact that the player was denounced in May 2017 by Melisa Tozzi, his ex-girlfriend, who accused him of injuries and threats, which in the first instance caused him a caution, but finally, a judge filed the case. In addition, the player had several scandals for his behavior, from car accidents to missing workouts for exceeding alcohol consumption.

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Gender department

Since 2018, the club pioneered the creation of the Gender Violence Area, “a work team that deals with a problem that crosses society in the most diverse areas,” according to La Nación.

According to the same medium, the work area is made up of ten women, who are led by lawyer Paula Ojeda, who are responsible for giving workshops, presentations, talks, and films that emphasize the problem as such.

The way in which the player was incorporated, and under the necessary conditions, earned the department a recognition by the National Institute against Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Racism (INADI). Through its Twitter account, the institution expressed its support, "we accompany the club's decision and encourage the rest of the clubs to incorporate actions aimed at preventing discriminatory and violent acts."

Other cases

There is no doubt that the implementation that regulates social behavior and emphasizes the consequences in case of gender violence is a great advance in the world of football. However, in most situations where violence is a participant, clubs prefer to remove the player involved from the club and reinstate it once “personal matters” have been resolved.

Such is the case of the Argentine soccer player Jonatan Cristaldo, a Racing player, who was denounced by his ex-wife after two blows to his face. Before the accusations, the club was limited to separate it for a few days until the situation cleared.

The team limited itself to issuing a statement in which it expresses that it is committed “in concrete actions aimed at eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls, as well as against all forms of violence in general”. However, after spending the stipulated time, Cristaldo returned to play inside the squad, and now they are looking for his exit from the club.

On the other hand, there is the case of the Brazilian team goalkeeper San Pablo, Jean Paulo Fernandes Filho. The player was arrested in the United States when his now partner accused him of domestic violence. According to AS, the victim suffered "eight punches in the face in the middle of an argument." The player was released, but may not have direct contact with his wife.

In a first statement, the club said that "it does not tolerate or accept episodes such as those reported today of violence against women," reaffirming the commitment that a player acquires before society. He also stressed that at the moment the club could not take legal measures, since the episode occurred on the December holidays, and in Brazil, the law prohibits firing a worker when he is on vacation.

However, on January 9, the club reissued a statement stating that it will suspend the player from activities with the team until December 31, 2020, but still, the player may summarize the activities if he is hired by another team. Otherwise, San Pablo "may decide to terminate the contract at the end of this year's suspension."

Despite exercising a penalty, in matters of violence, football still has a great obstacle to discipline its players and make them understand the serious consequences that their actions can have. Even so, Vélez's case presents an unprecedented scenario to deal with these aggressions.