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Braulio Nobrega, a convicted sex offender at Bengaluru FC. Right for Indian football?

Written by: Sabin Castelino

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Is this a right move for Indian football as a sex offender will be idolized by Indian football fans...

Bengaluru FC announced the signing of experienced Spanish forward Braulio Nóbrega Rodríguez on a one-year deal on Monday 7th August 2017. The 31-year-old La Liga veteran becomes the fourth Spaniard at the club joining fellow countrymen Juanan Gonzalez, Dimas Delgado and Antonio Dovale.

But apart from being a prolific striker who is well travelled Braulio was (in)famous for another incident in Spain. A report in Spanish daily Marca stated on September 22, 2012, “Former Zaragoza player, Braulio Nóbrega, was fined a total of €12,600 for two sexual abuse offences, two counts of sexual harassment and one of assault to four women with restraining orders against him for periods of between six months and three years.”

Also Read: Bengaluru FC sign striker Braulio Nóbrega

He, however, escaped imprisonment of up to 5 years under Spanish Law as he “benefitted from the use of a mitigating circumstance by compensation for damage caused” which was mainly monetary in nature. He was subsequently ousted from Real Zaragoza after his conviction came through and had to look for opportunities elsewhere forcing him to play in Segunda Division.

After plying his trade in the Segunda Division he traveled abroad to Recreativo del Huelva (2010, 2014-15), FC Cartagena (2012, Segunda Division), Hércules CF (2012–13, Segunda Division), Caudal Deportivo (2016, Segunda 'B'), apart from stints with Malaysian Super League's Johor Darul Ta'zim (2013–14) and Greek Super League side AEL Kalloni F.C. (2015-16) before joining Doxa.

Also Read: How Bengaluru FC could lineup this season in AFC Cup and Indian Super League

Although the striker notably netted thrice for Getafe in their UEFA Cup (now renamed to Europa League) campaign in 2007-08, when we are speaking of women safety and such in our country today, a convicted sex offender playing for a top club in India raises questions like; Should a footballer who escaped punishment by “compensation for damage caused” instead of facing time in prison for his acts be part of the football set up of a country which is moving steadily towards becoming a country safe for women? What message will it send to Sex-crime convicts in India?

When contacted by Hindustan Times for a comment on the issue, Bengaluru FC officials said, “The club chooses not to comment on it.” Does this show apathy on the clubs part or is the off-field behaviour of a player no longer influencing young minds that treat prolific footballers as idols and icons? Should we not bother of the character of a player before signing him to play in the league which is sure to get more than 10 million eyeballs on the screen?

Published: Thu Aug 10, 2017 03:07 PM IST

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