Getafe rename stadium over Perez’s controversial comments

Getafe have removed the name of Alfonso Perez from their stadium over sexist comments made by the former Real Madrid and Barcelona player about women’s football.

The ground, owned by the city council but leased to the club, has been known as the “Coliseum Alfonso Perez” since its construction in 1998 in honour of the Getafe-born player, but will now be known as the Coliseum.

The local government demanded the change after Perez, who never played for the club, spoke to El Mundo about comparisons between men and women’s football.

“I think that women’s and men’s football cannot be compared at all because everything depends on the income you generate and the media impact,” Perez told the newspaper.

“And there is no comparison there. You can’t complain about what women’s football currently is. They have evolved but they must have their feet on the ground and know that they cannot be compared in any sense to a male footballer.”

Getafe’s council said on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter, that it wants the stadium to be “an example to transmit positive values of sport such as equality, solidarity and respect” after the name change.

Perez’s comments are the latest controversy surrounding women’s football in Spain this summer. The national team won the Women’s World Cup, but the aftermath of that triumph was dominated by former Spanish football federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales’ unwanted kiss on Jennifer Hermoso and subsequent refusal to resign.

Rubiales resigned on Sept. 11 and this week testified in front of a judge in Madrid after being accused of sexual assault and coercion.

Players from the national team refused to play for the country until Rubiales and others left the federation. Perez said to El Mundo that the boycott brought the players’ patriotism into question.

“I would force them to kiss the Spanish flag to know that they defend their country’s shirt with honour and honesty,” the 1992 Olympic gold medal winner said. “First that, and then you can protest for whatever you want. I think it’s good that they ask for what they consider, but the national team is above all.”

Sara Hernandez, the mayor of Getafe, expressed disappointment over Perez’s remarks.

“With what has happened this summer and the example of equality given by women football to our society, it is sad that our most well-known footballer and Olympic football champion, Alfonso Perez, had spoken in this manner that goes in a direction completely contrary to the values that sport promotes,” she said on Cadena Ser’s El Larguero radio show.

“It saddens me that he says that they have nothing to complain about. It’s an issue of dignity, decency and equality, not money.”

“There is an investigation into sexual assault and coercion, players have had to demand minimum working conditions,” she later added.

Players from the professional top tier of women’s football in Spain went on strike for the opening game of the Liga F season before an agreement was reached on minimum wage of €21,000 ($20,000).

Perez, who never played for his home club Getafe, released a video on Wednesday doubling down on his comments.

“I haven’t said a lie, I’ve said a reality,” the 51-year-old said on X. “I have a mother, a wife and a daughter, who also plays soccer and who hopefully one day can reach the First Division and be an international, but even though she is my daughter, she will never be able to be compared with what they [male players] can generate or what that [male] soccer players can earn.”