Rayo Vallecano women's coach Carlos Santiso apologises for gang-rape comment

Santiso has apologised for the gang rape comment he made in 2017
Santiso has apologised for the gang rape comment he made in 2017 / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Carlos Santiso has apologised for a comment encouraging gang-rape that he made in a WhatsApp group in 2017, after Rayo Vallecano's decision to hire the disgraced coach attracted widespread criticism.

The Primera División outfit appointed Santiso at the end of January, despite him previously being forced to resign in November from his role in youth football after a controversial voice note that he sent to his staff four years earlier was leaked.

In the recording, Santiso makes reference to Spanish third tier side Arandina CF, where three players were sentenced to 38 years in prison for the gang-rape of a 15-year-old girl in 2017. Santiso encouraged his coaching staff to follow suit in the name of team morale.

In the recording, heard by The Guardian, Santiso can be heard saying: "This staff is incredible, but there are things we still lack, that we still need. We still need, I still say it, to do something like what those from Arandina did, man.

“We need to grab a girl, but overage so we don’t get ourselves into trouble, and to cargarnosla (which roughly translates as ‘screw her’) there all together. That’s what really brings a staff, a team together. Look at the Arandina lot: they went straight up.”

In a statement released on Rayo Vallecano's website, Santiso said: "I want to apologise and publicly record my profound regret for the unfortunate, and in very bad taste, unforgivable macho joke, which I did more than four years ago in a private WhatsApp group - a joke I never should have done.

"Sometimes one makes comments without bad intention and without realising their seriousness, but when you listen to them you say: 'this is unpresentable'."

Santiso went on to thank Vallecano for their willingness to forgive him, adding that his comments did not reflect his values.

"To the current date I want to point out that I am a person without any criminal record of any
nature, and that I have been working for the last 15 years in the development of young soccer players in an impeccable way.

"I want to end this communication by extending my apologies again to everyone that felt offended by listening to that unpresentable audio of which I reiterate that I feel very embarrassed and I am very sorry.

"For this reason, I beg and beg all public opinion to try to grant me the pardon that Rayo Vallecano de Madrid has granted me so as not to be destroyed as a human being."

Rayo's decision to stick by their new coach was met with criticism from the club's supporters and the wider footballing community.

Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl wrote on Twitter: "How can Rayo Vallecano go on like this? I sure hope their sponsors will react. This is out of this world. FIFPRO (International Federation of Professional Footballers) have you seen this?"