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Maribel Domínguez talks with a team member. Maribel Domínguez talks with a team member. Facebook / MiSeleccionMX

Women’s soccer coach suspended on eve of World Cup

The former national team star faces sexual harassment allegations

The coach of the Mexican under-20 women’s soccer team has broken her silence after being placed on leave on the eve of the World Cup, amid allegations of sexual harassment against her and her backroom staff.

Maribel Domínguez, 43, was placed on leave on Wednesday and the national soccer federation (FMF) announced the following day that her staff had also been placed on leave after it received undisclosed complaints.

The sports newspaper Cancha quoted anonymous players who alleged Domínguez requested kisses and would invite players to her room and on dates. Domínguez allegedly persisted despite refusals. The newspaper Proceso reported that a member of the coaching staff was previously dismissed by the FMF after a separate complaint.

However, Domínguez rejected the accusations. “What I will not allow, under any circumstances is non-material damage to my person and my family, which have been caused by alleged accusations that impact my values, integrity, honesty and transparency that have characterized me throughout my career as a footballer and coach,” she said in a statement.

Domínguez added that she would “proceed legally … if the opinions and distorted, malicious and unsubstantiated assertions are maintained, since this trial has been held on social media.”

FMF President Yon de Luisa said the federation wouldn’t be commenting further during the investigation. Ana Galindo has been put in temporary charge of the team, just weeks before the U-20 Women’s World Cup starts in Costa Rica on August 10.

Domínguez played in Mexico, Spain and the U.S. in her career and represented the national team 116 times, more than any other female player. She scored 82 goals for the team — more than any Mexican player in the men’s or women’s game at the national level — and earned the nickname “Marigol” for her propensity to find the back of the net.

Domínguez coached the under-15 girls’ national team before taking over as under-20 women’s coach in January last year.

With reports from Proceso, SDP Noticias and Récord

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