Feminine ray: “For our daughters, Santiso out of Vallecas” | sports


It’s football afternoon in Vallecas. The women’s Rayo Vallecano, last in the Iberdrola League standings, plays an important match against Valencia to try to escape the relegation zone, but it is a match that takes place in the shadow of the latest controversy of the local club: the recent hiring of Carlos Santiso, 31-year-old team coach, and author of an audio in which he cheers a gang rape: “You have to catch one and kill her all together. That unites”.

At the gates of the sports city of Rayo, in the heat of the afternoon sun, hardly anyone wants to comment on the subject. Players from the youth team, employees and even members of the coaching staff have access to the venue. Everyone’s silence reveals that the matter is embargoed. Not so for Irina, a young fan of the team, who points out the incomprehensibility of the situation with the coach: “If we have a club that identifies a lot with a series of values, it makes no sense to bring in a coach with such a problematic history. We find it humiliating.”

At all times, the scene is guarded by a police patrol stationed next to the compound. But there is little to control. Both in the access to the facilities and to the field there are more journalists concentrated than fans. There are no big banners or signs that people are going to mobilize. At 5:00 p.m., when the game starts, there are just over 60 fans sitting in the stands.

The ball rolls in Vallecas and in the first five minutes the attention turns to the outside of the enclosure. A woman has stuck four posters to the fence. “Respect and dignity for the Feminine Ray. Sexists out of Vallekas. We don’t want forgiveness, Santiso, we want you out. For our daughters, sisters, mothers, friends… Santiso out of Rayo”, she reads on the cardboard stuck with adhesive tape. A media swarm goes there: “A person cannot incite a woman or anyone to be raped. I don’t know any of the Rayo girls, but I identify as a woman. If we don’t fight for ourselves, no one is going to,” she exclaims.

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The woman, who claims to have come “as a mother”, does not accept Santiso’s apologies, which Rayo himself released on Tuesday through his official channels. They also fall on deaf ears for the spokeswoman for Más Madrid in the regional parliament, Mónica García, and for the councilor of the same party in the city council, Rita Maestre. “He has no forgiveness, they are unforgivable words. It is normalizing sexual violence and rape as if it were something that can be done,” summarizes García. Maestre adds: “Someone who has explicitly encouraged a gang rape can in no way exercise the position and responsibility that he has at this time.”

GRAF492.  MADRID, 02/02/2022.- A woman places banners outside the Ciudad Deportiva Rayo Vallecano against the coach of Rayo Vallecano Women, Carlos Santiso during the Iberdrola League match between Rayo Vallecano Women and VCF Women in the City Sports Rayo Vallecano in Madrid.  Carlos Santiso, coach of the female Rayo Vallecano, asked
GRAF492. MADRID, 02/02/2022.- A woman places banners outside the Ciudad Deportiva Rayo Vallecano against the coach of Rayo Vallecano Women, Carlos Santiso during the Iberdrola League match between Rayo Vallecano Women and VCF Women in the City Sports Rayo Vallecano in Madrid. Carlos Santiso, coach of the women’s Rayo Vallecano, asked for “forgiveness” yesterday, through a statement, for what he described as “an unforgivable macho joke” that he made more than four years ago and that now, after his return to the Madrid club, is being criticized by all sectors of society. EFE/Rodrigo Jimenez
Rodrigo Jimenez (EFE)

Despite the forcefulness of his statements, the stands seem to live oblivious to the controversy. There are no banners, there are no whistles and there are no shouts beyond those of encouragement to the players. The most combative fans, those who managed to knock down the hiring of soccer player Román Zozulya due to his links with Nazi ideology, do not appear.

Just as unnoticed is Santiso himself, who fulfills his duties as a coach like any other day. The result for his team is not the most desirable either: Rayo and Valencia tied at one. He leaves quietly, but still enveloped in a fire that has not been put out.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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