Spanish police arrested Thursday three unnamed Real Madrid youth academy players for allegedly distributing a sexual video featuring a minor, a police spokesperson said.
Officers detained the players, who are between the ages of 21 and 22, at Real Madrid’s training grounds following a complaint filed in Spain’s Canary Islands earlier this month by the mother of a 16-year-old girl who appears in the video, a Guardia Civil police spokesman said.
“They were detained on suspicion of distributing a video with sexual content involving a minor,” he said.
The players were released after they were questioned and their mobile phones were searched, the spokesman added.
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A fourth Real Madrid youth player was being investigated over the incident.
In a statement, the club said it was aware that a player from Real Madrid’s second team Castilla and three players from Real Madrid C – the Spanish club’s third team – “have made statements to the Guardia Civil in relation to a complaint about the alleged circulation of a private video via WhatsApp”.
“When the club has detailed knowledge of the facts, it will take the appropriate measures,” the statement added.
Online newspaper El Confidencial, which broke the story citing sources from the investigation, said the main target of the probe is a Real Madrid C player who allegedly recorded himself having consensual sex with a 16-year-old. He then allegedly shared the video to the other players without her consent via WhatsApp, the report said.
The arrests come as Spain is embroiled in a debate over sexism sparked by the scandal involving a kiss on the lips by former Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales on World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso.
His conduct at last month’s Women’s World Cup final which Spain won 1-0 against England has caused widespread criticism and led to his resignation, as well as a provisional suspension by football governing body FIFA.
Rubiales is due in court on Friday over the alleged unsolicited kiss.
“Spreading sexual images without consent also is sexual violence,” Equality Minister Irene Montero wrote on social network X, formerly called Twitter, after news of the arrests broke.
“We have an obligation to not to look the other way and guarantee all rights to all women. All my support to the victim and her family,” she added.