Several players on Real Madrid CF’s youth and reserve teams have been detained by Spanish police for sharing a sexually explicit video featuring a minor on WhatsApp, Spanish outlet El Confidencial reported on Thursday 14 September 2023.
According to the publication, at least three players have been arrested, but several more from different levels within the Spanish professional football club, including the club’s first team, appear to be involved.
The players, who are not minors, were shortly released following a court decision and after the data on their mobile phones was seized.
On Thursday, Real Madrid released a statement confirming that a player for Real Madrid Castilla (the club’s reserve team), and three players on Real Madrid C (the club’s second reserve team), have spoken with La Guardia Civil, Spain’s national police force.
However, the club did not offer more information in its short statement. “When the club has detailed knowledge of the facts, we will take the appropriate measures,” Real Madrid said.
A complaint was filed 6 September in the Canary Islands—a Spanish principality off the coast of Morocco—by the mother of the minor in the video, according to El Confidencial. The complaint alleges that the minor was filmed having consensual sex, but that the video was circulated to other players on WhatsApp without the minor’s consent. The outlet stated that the clip may have been distributed among multiple teams within the club.
The primary target of the investigation is an unnamed 16-year-old who plays for Real Madrid C, and who had a sexual relationship with the minor.
Spain carries a sentence of one to five years in prison for child pornography, including distributing or knowingly possessing child pornography.
The arrests have heightened the ongoing discourse regarding sexism and male behaviour in Spanish football amid allegations of sexual abuse against the former football federation chief Luis Rubiales, who kissed Spain’s World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso on the lips last month.
Rubiales resigned on Sunday 10 September after weeks of defying calls for him to step down, and is due to appear before a judge today, Friday 15 September. He maintains that the kiss was mutual and consensual.