Argentine club Independiente have become embroiled in a high-profile child prostitution scandal after it emerged that a player was recruiting youth footballers to have sex with men for money.
The identity of the player has not been revealed, but it is known that the accused is 19 years old and was living in team-owned accommodation while he recovered from an injury.
Independiente became aware of the situation when one of the abused children broke down in front of an employee and revealed a string of alleged abuses over the last four months.
The accused is said to have led at least five boys, also living in the accommodation and aged between 15 and 16, into a prostitution ring with men in the Palermo area of Buenos Aires.
The investigation into the case is being led by Maria Soledad Garibaldi. It has been categorised as “child abuse and facilitation of abuse” and there is also believed to be a referee of the youth ranks named in the scandal.
The accused player has already been released by the club, who released a statement on the matter on Thursday.
“As a consequence of the facts that are public knowledge, Club Atletico Independiente wishes to communicate that it has made the corresponding report and has put everything at the justice system's disposal so that it can act accordingly,” the statement began.
“Of course, we regret this kind of behaviour that implicates the club in such delicate matters and we will do everything we can to solve it.”
Independiente is considered one of the biggest clubs in Argentina and has produced notable players such as Manchester City's Sergio Aguero.