Cuca, the coach of Corinthians from Brazil, falls for a case of rape of a girl in the eighties | Sports

Cuca, who resigned as Corinthians coach this Thursday due to a rape case, in a file photo taken last August.
Cuca, who resigned as Corinthians coach this Thursday due to a rape case, in a file photo taken last August.DOUGLAS MAGNO (AFP)

Six days and two games has lasted Cuca, Alexi Stival, 59, as coach of the Brazilian Corinthians. The coach of the mythical Socrates team resigned this Thursday in the face of the monumental scandal that has caused the resurrection of an old court sentence in a case of gang rape of a 13-year-old girl in Switzerland at the end of the eighties. The Corinthians fans, always very politically committed, and the women’s team en bloc protested publicly and pressured him to resign. This morning, Cuca announced his resignation. “What has happened is almost a massacre. I’m leaving now, but not because I want to. It is a request from my family, ”he declared in an appearance without questions.

That violation and the judicial sentence have been almost totally forgotten during these four decades. They only reappeared, although with less intensity than now, a couple of years ago in the heat of Me Too. The sexual assault occurred in a Swiss hotel in 1987, when Cuca was a young player recently arrived at the Brazilian Gremio, who was on tour in Europe. He and three other Gremio de Porto Alegre players were arrested and jailed for a month in the Swiss capital, Bern.

They returned to Brazil without attending a trial, held two years later, in which Cuca was sentenced to 15 months for “indecent assault with violence”, like his companions Eduardo and Henrique; and Fernando, only for a violent act. None served the sentence because Brazil does not extradite its citizens (the same case of Robinho, sentenced to nine years for rape in Italy).

As the victim was a minor, Swiss privacy laws prevent knowing in detail who or who had a non-consensual sexual relationship with the 13-year-old girl. The event has dominated Brazilian sports coverage since the day of Cuca’s debut. The final nail in her coffin was a statement from the minor’s lawyer: “The girl recognized him as one of the rapists. He was convicted of sexual relations with a minor, ”Swiss Willi Egloff told the Brazilian digital media UOL on Wednesday. And he added that forensic analysis detected the technician’s semen in the victim. The coach denies that he raped her. The pressure reached a level that was difficult to bear for the club, which is second in its group in the Copa Libertadores.

That collective sexual assault and conviction were soon forgotten. They have not hindered Cuca’s career until now, as the coach himself highlighted at his farewell, recalling that he later returned to Europe to play for Valladolid in the 1990s “and nothing happened.” He hung up his boots and embarked on a successful coaching career at a multitude of clubs that, last week, led him to the bench of Corinthians, one of Brazil’s leading soccer teams.

His hiring by Corinthians de São Paulo immediately put the media focus on that sentence and the women’s team, on a war footing. The footballers agreed to launch a public protest campaign. And, after notifying their coach and the club, the day of Cuca’s first game as coach of the men’s team, they expressed their deep discontent: “Being in a democratic club means that we can use our voice, sometimes publicly, sometimes in the backroom. Respect the mines [respeta a las chicas] It’s not just any phrase. It is, above all, a state of mind and a shared commitment”, they declared in a note. Although they did not mention Cuca by his name, they wanted to make sure that the message was clear, so they spread it exactly in the 87th minute of the game. The rape occurred in 1987. Fans also loudly expressed their outrage as some of the top sportscasters turned up the pressure.

A couple of years ago, the episode of the rape surfaced and Cuca appeared, along with his wife and daughters, to give his version of the event: “There was no rape as they say. There was a conviction for having brought a minor into the room. Just this. There was no sexual abuse, attempted abuse or anything like that (…) I have never touched a woman improperly or inappropriately”.

Beyond its sporting merits, Corinthians is not just any club, as the players of the women’s eleven also remember when they write that “being Corinthians means living and fighting for rights every day.” The Corinthian Democracy was a movement that in the eighties fought from the stadiums and the stands against the Brazilian dictatorship and that also revolutionized the management of the club, which became an assembly. The virtuous and charismatic Sócrates (1954-2011), who came to captain the team, was its best-known promoter. A guy who was politically committed to levels almost unthinkable today in sports, graduated in medicine, very tall and with a tiny foot, who played in two World Cups, he was a smoker, a lover of partying and died of cirrhosis.

Until just over two years ago, Brazilian soccer turned a blind eye to violence against women. That same year, the Brazilian Football Confederation fired its president, Rogerio Caboclo, after being denounced for sexual harassment. But the most notorious and brutal is the case of the doorman Bruno Fernandes, sentenced to 22 years in prison for ordering the murder of his lover. He returned to play as a professional in the fourth division while serving a sentence in a semi-open regime.

And Robinho, sentenced to nine years for rape while he was a Milan player, is free in Brazil, where he fled after being denounced. Recently, he had to hand over his passport to the police after Italy demanded that he serve his sentence in Brazil after this country refused to extradite him. Meanwhile, Dani Alves has spent four months in pretrial detention in Barcelona accused of raping a woman this Christmas in a nightclub.

Tolerance towards athletes who abuse women is less and less. Times have changed, as the president of Corinthians acknowledged last night: “This is the new times, let’s say. I don’t want to go into the background right now, but I think that was an exaggeration… Unfortunately, it cannot continue. Corinthians is huge, we all know it. We are happy with today’s victory and sad to lose a professional of this caliber”.

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