Barcelona respond to accusation of ‘abusive behaviour’ from Brazil forward Gio

16:18 SAST 2022/03/29
Giovana Queiroz Brazil
The 18-year-old Brazil international, currently on loan at Levante, published an open letter regarding ‘negative experiences’ while at Barca

Barcelona have responded to accusations made by forward Giovana Queiroz about ‘abusive behaviour’, claiming that both the club and FIFA found they had “acted properly” in the situation.

Gio joined Barca in the summer of 2020 and is one of the most highly-rated young prospects in women’s football, ranking at No.10 in this year’s women’s NXGN list.

The 18-year-old is yet to make a competitive appearance for Barca but was included in a number of the club’s matchday squads before leaving to join Levante on loan, where she has scored five league goals this season. She has won 11 caps for her country, including one at last summer's Olympic Games.

What has been said?

On Tuesday, Gio sent a post from her Twitter account which read: “Open letter to the President of FC Barcelona.”

In a series of tweets afterwards, she detailed her experiences at the club, writing: “It has not been easy to get to this point. There were many months of anguish and suffering. Despite everything I've been through, today I feel capable of denouncing the abusive behaviour I suffered within FC Barcelona's women's football.”

Gio stated that she was “very well received by the players and the coaching staff” upon her arrival and “in a good dynamic, until I received the first call from the Brazilian national team”. The forward was eligible to play for Spain and the United States, as well as Brazil.

She then alleged that she was “subjected to illegal confinement by the head of the club’s medical services”.

“She claimed that she would be a close contact of a positive COVID case. From the beginning I sensed that the real reasons for the confinement were others. As the doctor's order was contrary to health protocol, I contacted the Catalan Health Department directly and asked for clarification.

“The answer was clear and forceful. My case was not and could not be considered a close contact according to the current health protocol. When questioned, she replied: "Your case is different. I was authorised to make a special confinement for you." I, indignant, still asked: How special? She avoided the subject and never answered me!”

Gio continued: “After completing the quarantine imposed, I received authorisation from FIFA to join the Brazilian National Team in the United States, with the full knowledge of the club. Before traveling and during the concentration period, I carried out several PCR tests, always with negative results.

“When I returned to Barcelona, they called a meeting with the club director. At that meeting, I was accused of having committed serious indiscipline and that, therefore, I would be removed from the team and suffer serious consequences.

“I was completely shocked. They unfairly accused me of having breached the confinement, of having travelled without authorization from the club and without the consent of the team captains.”

The forward added: “FC Barcelona is not directly responsible for the reported abusive conduct. The club must be responsible for ensuring physical, mental, psychological and moral integrity against any form of violence, establishing comprehensive protection through awareness, prevention, protection and repair of the damage caused.

“My personal and professional life was deeply affected by these deeply demeaning and negative experiences. The memories, the trauma, and its effects are likely to last for many years. I lived through many months of anguish and sadness, something unimaginable when I arrived at the club.

“Today I want to take the first step to fully recover my freedom and emotional stability and that is why I decided to write this open letter. I hope that FC Barcelona fulfils its institutional role and acts consistently and transparently, investigating and reporting possible crimes to the relevant authorities.

“I also hope that the club, through its president, commits to implementing effective measures to combat the evident and well-documented problem of moral abuse, workplace harassment and psychological violence against women. Finally, I want to express my deep gratitude to all the people who have helped and supported me in the most difficult moments of my life.”

What have Barcelona said?

When asked about Gio’s statement, Barcelona responded: “Government rules did not permit the travel with Brazil. A process was opened to look at how the club handled the situation and both the club and FIFA found that FC Barcelona acted properly.

"The allegations of moral abuse, workplace harassment and psychological violence are not true. Giovana was a close contact of a positive Covid-19 case and the club told her she couldn’t travel to Orlando in the United States with the Brazilian national team due to Spanish government regulations.

"The player complained to the club's compliance department and to FIFA. FC Barcelona's compliance department and FIFA found that they had both acted properly. The case was closed."

Further reading