Coach quits Brazil club over keeper’s femicide conviction

Sao Paulo (AFP) – The coach of the women’s team of Brazilian football club Rio Branco quit Thursday in protest at the men’s team’s decision to sign star goalkeeper Bruno, who was convicted in 2013 of murdering his girlfriend.

Bruno Fernandes das Dores de Souza — the player’s full name — was one of Brazil’s most promising young stars, but his career was cut short in 2010 when he was arrested on suspicion of murdering a former lover with whom he had a child.

Bruno, now 35, was convicted three years later.

Although he is currently out of prison pending his appeal, Rio Branco women’s coach Rose Costa said his conviction should have made signing him taboo.

“My life story as a woman and a professional prevent me from remaining at Rio Branco,” she wrote on Instagram, announcing her resignation with immediate effect.

“I need to respect my own beliefs, including that we educate by example.”

Rio Branco, which is based in the northern state of Acre, plays in the Brazilian fourth division.

At the time of his arrest, Bruno was the starting goalkeeper for top-flight club Flamengo, and had racked up a series of impressive performances.

But his career was derailed by his court case.

He was sentenced to 20 years and nine months for murdering Eliza Samudio, a 25-year-old model, and kidnapping their son.

He was released in 2017 pending appeal and signed with the club Boa Esporte, but was then re-arrested when the decision to free him was overturned in court.

Released again, he briefly played last year for third-division side Pocos de Caldas.

Rio Branco announced his signing Sunday, triggering immediate controversy.

The club’s lone sponsor, a supermarket chain, announced it was suspending its relationship with the team over the decision.

With a deep-rooted culture of machismo and high levels of violence against women, Brazil leads Latin America in femicides.

One is committed in the country every seven hours, according to a study by news site G1 in March.

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