The Mexico Women’s Soccer National Team might not warrant much attention from a website dedicated to Bayern Munich. Yet, sometimes, our writers diverge from Bayern Munich to write about topics close to their heart. The story I am about to cover is very close to the heart of one of our own, alco1. However, it is far from a limited problem.
Due to the growing number of athletes being charged with domestic violence, assault and other serious offences of the like (Ryan Giggs, Mason Greenwood, Benjamin Mendy and Jerome Boateng come to mind), I feel it is important to cover grim sides of the game to remind ourselves that off the field, events are not always as fun as on it.
At the end of July, Maribel Dominguez, coach of the Mexico Women’s U-20 national team was suspended. Coaches get suspended for red cards and for unsavory words in press conferences anyway — what’s the big deal?
Well, Dominguez was allegedly suspended because she was aware of the action of higher ups in the FMF, Mexico’s Football Federation: the higher-ups are said to have asked for sexual favors from young female players in exchange for a place on the team. One such higher-up has already been reportedly removed from the team after a player accused him of sexual harassment in a letter she sent to FMF.
Furthermore, the FMF was seemingly issued an ultimatum by the player: either the player would make the case public or they would have to act; this may have led to the removal of the higher-up.
Following this case, other players have come forward about sexual abuse, noting how they were forced to exchange sexual favors to keep their place in the team. They claimed Dominguez was aware of what was occurring but did not step in.
The male member of the coaching staff removed from his position is unnamed; meanwhile, Dominguez continues to take the heat for failing to protect her players. While Dominguez should have stepped in, it is bewildering to me that her name is the only one in the press rather than those who abused the young women.
This is another case that shows the deep-rooted corruption and incompetence that plagues the soccer infrastructure of the whole country. However, the league perpetuates dishonest and sleazy practices such as the “gentleman’s agreement”, spots in the national team awarded by pure marketing or nepotism, and young players being asked for money to debut in the First Division.
In fact, that is something that I have witnessed directly, since a former roomie of mine used to play for the youth system of a major club and wasn’t allowed to debut if he didn’t pay around $2,000 in a country where the minimum daily wage is $10 (not that the amount matters).
There has not been enough coverage for me to give you further detailed accounts, at least in the English speaking press. However, reports of abuse in youth teams in the game have also been coming up recently. It seems that the game is unable to protect young players to the extent it should from predatory personnel.
Mexico is a nation that loves the beautiful game; whenever their national team plays, the players wear their hearts on their sleeves. It is a shame that this has been going on and we felt it deserved a bigger forum than the story is getting. While it is not always pleasant to bring these issues to light and football, after all, is an escape from our daily lives, football can become an ugly nightmare for some.