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Brazil soccer chief says rape convictions for Alves and Robinho ends 'nefarious chapter'

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil soccer chief Ednaldo Rodrigues says the rape convictions of former internationals Dani Alves and Robinho ends “one of the most nefarious chapters” in the country's sports history.

Brazil confederation executives and coaching staff feel sorry for “the victims of the brutal crimes committed by the former footballers," Rodrigues said in a statement on Friday.

Robinho was jailed on Thursday after a high court authorized his nine-year sentence from a trial in Italy to be served in Brazil. Alves is serving a 4 1/2-year sentence for rape.

“The yellow shirt that Brazilian athletes wear on the pitch is much more than a jersey. Just like soccer to Brazil is more than a sport. Those who wear it need to defend the feelings and values of a whole country they represent,” Rodrigues said.

“It is embarrassing that an athlete feels comfortable to commit such perversity as if all he achieved through sport will stop him from being punished.”

Hours earlier, Brazil coach Dorival Júnior said Robinho was “a fantastic person" in a press conference in London ahead of Saturday's friendly against England. Júnior was recalling when he coached Robinho at Santos, but Brazil women's team players expressed their disgust at Júnior's sentiment on social media.

“This is unbelievable, it really is,” midfielder Ary Borges posted.

This week, the head of Brazil's delegation in London, Palmeiras chairperson Leila Pereira, said the silence of footballers around the cases of Alves and Robinho was “a slap in the face of all women.”

Rodrigues also said Brazil's bid to host the 2027 Women's World Cup “represents the biggest project of the current administration to promote the participation of women in soccer, fight sexism and develop the sport.” The 2027 host is expected to be picked in May.

Alves played 126 times for Brazil from 2006-22. He has been in prison outside Barcelona for 14 months. He was found guilty of raping a woman in a Barcelona nightclub in December 2022. He denied wrongdoing during the three-day trial in February.

Spain’s state prosecutors’ office in Barcelona asked a court on Friday to reconsider its decision to grant Alves the opportunity to leave prison early.

Robinho played 100 matches for Brazil from 2003-17. He was taken to Tremembe penitentiary in rural Sao Paulo state on Friday for raping a woman in Italy in a group sexual assault in 2013.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/Soccer