Despite the fact that, unfortunately, ‘violent baptism’ is a common practice in professional teams with youth players who go up to train with the first team, a red card in the Banfield-Gimnasia match brought these practices back to the forefront of the news.
In that match, played on 12 February, the red card shown by referee Martinez to Ignacio Miramon after a kick to Brahian Aleman was what ended up triggering this whole story in a public way. This was because it had a violent undertone after the Uruguayan had played for the team during the five years that the player was at Estancia Chica.
The background was uncovered after a statement by journalist Mateo Romero.
“Brahian Aleman was the leader of an internal gang that called themselves ‘Los Ninjas’. What was their mission? To beat up the kids who came up through the youth ranks. It is a baptism that has more to do with the historical initiations in rugby squads than with football team,” Romero declared.
“In June 2021, that gang led by Aleman entered Miramon‘s room three times to wrap him between 7 or 8. Then, they went through Torres‘ room, wrapped him in sheets and also beat him.”
After other versions of what happened in the team’s training camp, the club had no choice but to release its version of events in an official statement.
“The players of the first division men’s team of Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata Club inform members, fans and the general public that the claims circulating regarding an alleged ‘abuse’ during the 2021 preseason are false,” their statement read.
“We express our dissatisfaction and concern about the information spread. We respect and support the current institutional policy that prohibits any kind of ‘baptism’, ‘ritual’ or ‘rite of passage’ involving the use of physical force and we express our rejection of all forms of violence in sport.”
Mariano Cowen, president of Gimnasia, acknowledged on C5N that the incident had involved blows and covering someone with a sheet as was done in the military barracks and he warned that those responsible would be punished.
As this is not something new and different versions were always circulating, although never with this seriousness, a month ago Mauro Boselli had declared that in Estudiantes this type of practices were over because they did not see it as logical.
“We don’t want to make a boy who is doing his first pre-season feel bad if he likes to have long hair. It makes no sense to ridicule them. As long as we’re here, it’s not going to happen,” said the former striker.