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Spanish court sets $1.1 million bail for Dani Alves to be released from prison –

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Spanish court sets $1.1 million bail for Dani Alves to be released from prison

Brazilian soccer player Dani Alves can be released from jail on a 1 million euro ($1.1 million) bail while he appeals his rape conviction, after serving about a quarter of his four-and-a-half-year sentence, a Barcelona court ruled on Wednesday.

The conditions for Alves’ release include relinquishing both his Brazilian and Spanish passports so he cannot leave Spain as well as an obligation to appear before the court on a weekly basis or whenever summoned.

The court also imposed a restraining order barring Alves from coming within 1,000 metres (3,300 feet) of the victim.

The case of Alves, one of the most successful soccer players in history, attracted significant attention not only due to the Brazilian’s profile but because gender-based violence has become an increasingly dominant topic in Spain’s public discourse.

The former Barcelona, Juventus and PSG defender has been held at a Barcelona prison since January 2023. He was convicted on Feb. 22 of raping a woman in the restroom of a Barcelona nightclub in 2022 and ordered to pay her 150,000 euros. He has appealed against the conviction.

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In its ruling, the court’s majority cited an article in the Spanish constitution enshrining a person’s right to freedom and said it superseded the function of a prison on remand, as Alves’ conviction was not yet final.

The 40-year-old defender’s 4-1/2-year prison sentence was below the nine and 12 years sought by the prosecutor and the victim respectively.

“To me, it’s a scandal that they let a person who they know can get a million euros in no time walk free,” the victim’s lawyer, Ester Garcia, told RAC1 radio station immediately after the ruling.

The decision, which was not unanimous due to a dissenting vote from one of the three judges on the panel, can be challenged on appeal.

Garcia said she was “outraged and dissatisfied” with the ruling, adding it was “a justice (system) for the rich” and that she would lodge an appeal.

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The court’s decision and bail imposed was also criticised by far-left Sumar party, the junior partner in Spain’s ruling government coalition.

“Justice is patriarchal and discriminates according to class. Enough already,” it posted on social platform X.

Alves’ lawyer was not immediately available for comment.

His was one of the most high-profile trials in Spain since a law was passed in 2022 that made consent a key element in sexual assault cases and widened the range of prison time.

Alves benefited from this law, introduced by the Socialist-led government, as it carried a lower minimum sentence and reduced sentencing due to mitigating factors.

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Alves joined Mexican side Pumas UNAM in 2022 for a reported monthly salary of 300,000 euros. The club terminated his contract following his arrest.

-Reuters

 

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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La Liga

Napkin used by Barcelona to sign Messi sold for nearly $1 million

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A signed and framed napkin on which soccer club Barcelona promised to sign a 13-year-old Lionel Messi is displayed at the Bonhams auction house in London, Britain May 8, 2024. REUTERS/Will Russell/File Photo

The napkin on which Barcelona promised to sign Lionel Messi when he was a 13-year-old has been sold for 762,400 pounds ($969,000, auction house Bonhams said on Friday.

The napkin was signed in December, 2000 by Barca’s former sporting director Carles Rexach and transfer advisor Josep Minguella along with Argentine agent Horacio Gaggioli over lunch at a tennis club.

Messi became one of Barcelona’s greatest players, winning over 30 trophies and leaving the Catalan club as their all-time leading scorer with 672 goals.

He also won a record eight Ballon d’Or awards for the world’s best player and led Argentina to the World Cup crown in 2022. Messi now plays for U.S. club Inter Miami in Major League Soccer.

“Yes, it’s a paper napkin, but it’s the famous napkin that was at the inception of Lionel Messi’s career,” Ian Ehling, the head of fine books and manuscripts at Bonhams New York, said in a statement.

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“It changed the life of Messi, the future of FC Barcelona, and was instrumental in giving some of the most glorious moments of football to billions of fans around the globe.”

-Reuters

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Racially Abused Senegalese Goalkeeper Speaks Out After Abandoned Spanish Match –

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Racially Abused Senegalese Goalkeeper Speaks Out After Abandoned Spanish Match -

Senegalese goalkeeper Cheikh Sarr has heard racial slurs directed at him from the stands before, but when a fan allegedly approached just to racially insult him during a Spanish third-tier league game last Saturday, he decided he’d had enough.

“I grabbed him and asked why he was insulting me. My attitude was not aggressive, I just wanted to ask him why,” the 23-year-old told reporters on Tuesday of the incident in Sestao, a working-class town in northern Spain, which led to the game being abandoned.

“Other times it could be seen as something playful or a joke. However, this was not the case on Saturday, as it was something horrible and I could not stop myself. It was a very sad and ugly thing what they were saying,” he added.

The match between Sarr’s Rayo Majadahonda and Sestao River Club was suspended in the 84th minute after the altercation first led to Sarr being expelled by the referee, who was too far to hear the alleged insults, and then his team mates leaving the pitch in protest.

Racism in sport has been a hot topic in Spain, especially after Real Madrid’s Brazil winger Vinicius Jr, who has suffered from several incidents of racist abuse and is part of a campaign against racism, last year called LaLiga and Spain racist.

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On Saturday, he spoke out in support of those affected on social media again, citing “three despicable cases of racism” on that day alone, including Sarr’s.

Sevilla’s Argentina defender Marcos Acuna and coaching staff were also the target of “racist and xenophobic insults” from fans in a LaLiga game at Getafe, the club said.

Sarr said he was thankful that Vinicius had tagged him on social media showing support.

“If more players said no to racism like he does, they (racists) wouldn’t have the power they have now,” he said.

Reuters

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Sex-convict, Alves Spends First Day Of Provisional Freedom With All-night Party –

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Former Barcelona star, Brazilian Dani Alves, who was provisionally released from prison after over a year in prison celebrated his temporary reprieve with an all-night party.

Although his release from prison was temporary, after he was convicted and faces a 4-and-a-half-year prison sentence, Italian newspaper,  Corriere dello Sport reported that the Brazilian organized a noisy party to celebrate his father’s birthday.

The newspaper indicated that Alves held this party last Tuesday, and continued until five in the morning in the presence of family and friends, to celebrate his father on the one hand, and also to enjoy his freedom on the other hand after spending a long period behind bars.

The camera of the Spanish “Telefónico” network was following the steps of the legend of the oldest Brazilian player to participate in the World Cup, until he arrived at his home, located 25 minutes from downtown Barcelona.

The first thing Alves did after arriving at his home was to order a large amount of “burgers” for dinner, the first meal that the former right-back ate after his release from the “Brian 2” prison in Barcelona.

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According to several Spanish media outlets, Alves distributed his belongings  such as clothes and a small fan to the prisoners who had been by his side for more than 430 days,

Alves, 40, was accused of raping a woman in a nightclub, and was sentenced to 4 and a half years in prison last February, before a decision was issued for his conditional release

 

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