The police are investigating Benaiges, a former coordinator in the Barcelona quarry (and Chivas), accused of abuse and harassment of minors

BARCELONA – The Catalan police, Mossos d’Esquadra, “has initiated an investigation” as a result of the “complaints filed” in various police stations in Barcelona against Albert Benaiges, former coordinator of Barça’s grassroots football, as confirmed to ESPN Sports an official source of the police force.

Benaiges resigned from his position at the Barça club on December 2 when the entity became aware of a journalistic investigation by the newspaper Ara, which revealed that for more than 20 years he allegedly committed sexual abuse and humiliation of school children from Barcelona where he worked.

A source from Barcelona told ESPN Sports that as soon as the club became aware of the journalistic investigation at the beginning of this month “they spoke with him and he directly left office”, aware of the existence of the scandal that was about to take place.

Albert Benaiges, a respected and admired personality for his sporting career in the Barça quarry, considered the discoverer among others of Andrés Iniesta and who returned to the Barça club after the electoral victory of Joan Laporta in March, was denounced through an investigation by the Ara newspaper as the author of alleged abuse and harassment of boys and girls at the Barcelona School, of which he was a teacher for more than twenty years. Coordinator of formative football at Barça, last week he left the club without further explanation and without the club itself offering any information. After days the reason has come to light.

He also referred to the issue this Saturday, during his press conference prior to the game against Osasuna, the coach of the first team, Xavi Hernández, who has known Benaiges well, and for many years, and was “very surprised and affected” by the news.

“It is a very complicated and delicate subject. This morning we have discussed it with the staff because we love Benaiges very much and the news has surprised a lot,” admitted Xavi and hastened to assure that he never suspected it. “I have no news that an episode of these happened in the club, nor any suspicions” clarified the coach, admitting that “I cannot say that it did not happen”, but making it clear that personally he never thought about it: “I have known him for many years, I appreciate him, I have always had an excellent relationship with him and he has left us a very good legacy … But it is an issue that must be resolved by justice. “

Benaiges, 71 years old and born in Mexico (although he lived in Spain since childhood), played a large part of his career in the Barcelona quarry, which he joined in 1991 from Sants (a club from the same city), combining various positions (coach of children, youth and quarry director) and until 2012 when he signed as director of youth football for Al-Wasl in Dubai.

There he remained for two years and then signed as director of the basic forces of Chivas de Guadalajara, in which he remained for just three months and that he left suddenly and with the first hints of abuse. Quarry director and coach of the Cibao first team in the Dominican Republic between January 2015 and June 2018, he then joined the Japanese Vissel Kobe with Andrés Iniesta, leaving the club in April 2021, when he returned to Barcelona at the hands of Joan Laporta after the elections to the club’s presidency, being appointed coordinator of the Barça youth squad.

The investigation of the Catalan newspaper reveals that Benaiges allegedly carried out abuse and harassment for two decades at the Escola Barcelona to boys and girls of whom he was a physical education teacher. Several testimonies relate alleged touching, masturbations watching pornographic films with children of 13 years and various sexual games with children of 8 years and older, an end that Benaiges denied … although he acknowledged that “he would not repeat anything I did.”

This Friday a victim filed a complaint and it is expected that in the next few days other students who lived through these chapters will also file a complaint in court.

“You came out of the dining room and he was already there. He took us to the gym where there were pinching games in his underpants, the game of squeezing his foot …”, a former student from the school recounted in the investigation, recalling that this happened when he had 11 years old and that shortly after, at 13, they masturbated together in the locker room. “He would masturbate looking like we did, but there was some touching,” he explained, stating that Benaiges warned them: “Don’t explain this.”

This kind of stories is reproduced in countless testimonies (a hundred reveals the diary), also of girls at the time. “We ended up with our panties down” recalls one of them, who was 12 years old at the time, recalling that he forced boys and girls to shower together while he watched them.

The few complaints that occurred during the time were not taken into account by the school management, considering that Benaiges was a personality and dismissing all of them as “lies”.

“Now I would do nothing. Absolutely nothing. I am sorry I did all this, yes, but I don’t think I did anything wrong. I have never hurt anyone and if I have, it has not been intentionally. I have an adopted child already Four inmates, I have a clear conscience, I have never forced anyone “, Benaiges defended himself when contacted by the newspaper, assuring that if there was any touching” it was involuntary and without malice “and he said” he does not remember “group masturbations with young students although yes with 17, 18 or 20 year old monitors …

Footballers, ex-footballers and coaches who coincided with him at Barça have ensured that “never” was there any conduct of this type by Benaiges, a situation that brings back his eyes and discovers his brief stage in the Chivas de Guadalajara, where he was already was pointed out.

If in 2014 some messages were published on Twitter that already left the shadow of suspicion when he left the club, in December 2019 the Récord newspaper dusted the matter with an article, ‘The uncomfortable departure of Albert Benaiges from Chivas’, in which reported pedophile practices. “The then wife of Jorge Vergara told him what was happening at the club and at that very moment Don Yorch decided to brush the man who discovered players like Xavi Hernández and Andrés Iniesta in Barcelona” explains the note.