Atletico Madrid have cut links with former academy director Manuel Brinas and launched an internal investigation after allegations of sexual abuse were made against the 88-year-old.
In an interview with El Pais, Brinas admitted abusing an individual known as Miguel M.H., now 59, while he was friar at Hermanos Amoros School in Carabanchel in southwest Madrid.
The victim told the newspaper that the abuse took place between 1973 and 1975, before Brinas was involved with Atletico.
In response, Brinas said: “These were things that happened then, a little strange. Frankly, I never explained it to myself.
“It was an accident. The woman I was going to marry had recently died. It was only once or twice. Thankfully, I immediately stopped it. It’s a thorn I have always carried in my soul.”
On Thursday, El Pais published accounts from four more individuals who allege they were sexually abused by Brinas. Omnisport was unable to contact Brinas for a response to the latest claims.
Atletico later published a statement to confirm they have broken ties with Brinas and launched an investigation “to rule out the existence of this kind of behaviour during his time with our club”.
“We strongly condemn this type of conduct and we show our strongest disgust at these serious events,” they said.
“We are dismayed because during his years linked with our academy, there never existed the least of suspicions about the person, but quite the contrary, he was perceived as someone who was well respected inside and outside Atletico Madrid.
“Once the facts were reported, Manuel Brinas’ contract with Atletico Madrid was rescinded. Atletico Madrid started an internal investigation yesterday [Wednesday] to rule out the existence of this kind of behaviour during his time with our club.
“One of the fundamental values in our academy is to safeguard the rights of children and the protection of infants. Although none of these events are related to our club, as of now, and with the help of Save The Children, we have started a revision of the existing protocols regarding the functioning of our younger teams, with the objective of perfecting them further to prevent any risk whatsoever.”
Brinas was a pivotal figure in the rebuilding of Atletico’s academy, which was disbanded by president Jesus Gil in the 1990s.
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