Albert Benignis, accused of sexually assaulting dozens of former students at a public school, denied the accusations.
Today, Saturday, Spanish media reported that the former director of Barcelona’s youth teams, Albert Benagues, was accused of sexually assaulting dozens of former students at a public school where he worked in Barcelona.
Catalan newspaper Ara reports that more than 60 former Benigue students have accused him of sexually assaulting them while he was a physical education teacher at their public school. ARA said Benaiges denied any wrongdoing.
Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez spoke on Saturday shortly after authorities in northeastern Spain announced they had opened an investigation into the accusations. Hernandez said he was “surprised” by the news.
It appears that none of the former Barcelona players have joined the accusations.
The 71-year-old Benaiges was a key member of Barcelona’s youth training academy from 1991-2011, in conjunction with a generation of the club’s best players, including Andres Iniesta and Xavi.
After stints abroad with foreign clubs, Benaig returned to Barcelona last year after Joan Laporta returned to his presidency. He reportedly resigned last week for personal reasons.
“I don’t have any information that there was any such type of event, although that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen,” Xavi said at a routine pre-match press conference.
“He was my coach and I had no doubts. I’m so amazed and stunned, I didn’t expect it.
“This is a very sensitive and very complex issue,” Xavi added.
“I spoke with the coaching staff because we love Albert Benajis so much. He surprised us a lot. We’ve always had an excellent relationship, and he left a very good legacy. It’s the justice system that will decide,” he added.
Barcelona has not yet publicly commented on the investigation.