Categories: Sports

Andy Polo: how should football teams react to cases of violence against women?

Andy Polo: how should football teams react to cases of violence against women?

Two days after the complaint against Andy Polo was made public for physically assaulting his wife, Génessis Alarcón, the Portland Timbers, a team in which the Peruvian national team played, announced the immediate termination of his contract. Despite this, responses from American fans to the team’s social media posts were negative, indicating that the club’s leadership covered up the violence.

In the statement presented by the team, it was indicated that they became aware of a “dispute” between Polo and Alarcón on May 23 in which the Washington police had to intervene. “We deeply regret not suspending Polo immediately, especially considering the troubling new details of abuse that have emerged this week. It was a mistake on our part, and one that will never happen again.”, the club pointed out.

According to specialists consulted, the United States is a society that does not tolerate abuse against women and that expects its institutions to share this same culture. In the specific case of Portland Timberskeeping silent despite knowing the facts generated reputational damage to his own image in front of the fans.

Not all societies have the same opinion regarding cases of domestic violence or abuse, it depends on how much it is penetrating. So, what happened is that the expectation in the fans of the United States [ante la reacción de su club en un caso de violencia a la mujer] is higher and seeing that your institution contradicts that expectation, generates a negative impact on the reputation of the club”, explained Miguel Antezana, professor of the international diploma in Corporate Communication at ESAN.

This reputational damage can lead to fans of clubs involved in a similar case stopping attending the stadiums or consuming their official products.

If a fan is aligned to these values [en contra de la violencia a la mujer] would be expected to stop attending soccer games, not watch them on television or not buy shirts or ‘merchandising’”, added Antezana.

However, this type of culture is still far from taking root in Peru, a situation in which its fans would not react in the same way if their teams present a case of violence. “In the Peruvian case we see the inconsistency of messages. When these cases have happened in Peruvian soccer there were complaints from the fans, but there was no reaction in their actions. They continued to go to the stadiums, being fans, giving their support even though they say that acting [del club y de sus futbolistas] That’s wrong”, he warned.

A sample that would confirm what has been commented is that if one reviews the responses to the aforementioned communication from Portland Timbers Regarding Polo’s dismissal, you will find some comments from Peruvian social network users indicating that the club’s decision was a mistake or taken in a rush.

To prevent a Peruvian team from being involved in situations of violence again, Raúl Rosales, director of the UPC Sports Administration and Business course, assured that they must include clauses in the players’ contracts to prevent this type of action. , or to be able to separate them in case a situation of aggression is registered.

In the United States and Europe the contracts have the player online. They have clauses of justified dismissal and compensation to the club if this type of situation occurs. That’s what Peruvian clubs need to incorporate: a professional football code, a code of conduct in which it doesn’t matter if you’re the most important player or the last in line, if you commit crimes your contract endsRosales explained.

Construction of the image

A week before the Polo case became known, Mason Greenwoodpromising striker Man Utd, was denounced by his ex-girlfriend Harriet Robson for assault and rape. The aggrieved presented evidence on her social networks. The reaction of the English club was immediate: he separated him from his professional squad, removed all the official products that were sold with his name and offered to change all the shirts that the fans acquired with his name and number for free. The sports brand Nike also withdrew its sponsorship from him immediately.

Despite the fact that Greenwood is only 20 years old, he has already played more than 100 games with the ‘red devils’, scored 35 goals and his transfer card is valued at 50 million euros, according to the specialized website Transfermarkt. The institutional culture and the image of the club weighed more than a future millionaire sale.

Errors, offenses or crimes may be unavoidable for any institution, because they cannot control the actions of the people they hire. But they do have the option to react. Manchester United gave a message of support for women and it is these actions that define the organizational culture: how much you are willing to pay or give up to build your image. The monetary cost could be little compared to what they will earn in this way”, assured Rosales.

According to Rosales, the global trend in which professional soccer clubs are fighting the violence against women in an open way. This raises the expectations of the fans regarding how they will react to this type of case. Likewise, it gives greater responsibilities to the clubs as social figures.

Ajax Amsterdam sacked Marc Overmars [ex ídolo del club] of his role as athletic director for harassment. There is a tendency in which football is a meter on this type of attitude. Now the football club has a different role, because now it is not only important that it win the weekend game, but that the sports organization begins to understand its social role, that in this type of situation it has a firm positionRosales added.

Lost investments

Andy Polo was sold by the Monarcas Morelia of Mexico to Portland Timbers for 2.27 million euros in 2019. During his time in the United States, the Peruvian national team played 75 games, scored four goals and gave three assists. After the termination of his contract, the MLS team will not see higher returns on his investment.

According to Víctor Zaferson, a talent scout and sports analyst, the complaint against Polo will not end his career, but he will probably spend a few months without a contract. Another possibility is that he returns to a Peruvian club. “Surely several clubs will rule him out and spend several months without a team. Perhaps he will return to Peru or the national team’s technical command may recommend him to another club, but I don’t think the doors will be open again in the United States or Mexico.”, he indicated.

Likewise, he stressed that this is a bad precedent for the Peruvian player who seeks to emigrate to the United States league. Despite the fact that there are national players who have long careers in that country, the teams would take more precautions before hiring another Peruvian player.

I don’t think MLS closes the door to Peruvians, but now there will be more care or filters. With this background they will see more of their family environment, their private life, they will pay attention to the personal part before hiring”, he added.

Currently the market value of Andy Polo, according to Transfermarkt, is 2 million euros. By not having a club, there will be no movement between institutions that implies the payment of this sum of money.

Source: Elcomercio