Soccer club boss defends hiring murderer who fed his girlfriend’s body to dogs

Killer spends seven years in Brazilian jail and then lands plum goalkeeping job while awaiting appeal on serving remainder of sentence

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 March, 2017, 11:35am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 March, 2017, 11:49am

The president of a Brazilian soccer club that signed a goalkeeper who was jailed for murdering his ex-girlfriend called the decision “courageous” on Tuesday, although the player could be sent back to jail at any time.

Third division champions Boa Esporte drew widespread outrage with the signing of Bruno Fernandes, a former top-flight keeper who was released from jail last month.

He served seven years of a 22-year jail sentence for murdering his ex-girlfriend, who was the mother of his son, and feeding her body to dogs.

Several of the club’s sponsors, including their kit maker, abandoned Boa Esporte within days of the deal, and fans have flooded social media with criticism.

But club president Rene Moraes said on Tuesday Boa Esporte, set to play in the second division this year, were justified in giving the keeper a second chance, although he was out of jail on appeal and could go back at any moment.

“You have to show people that what Bruno did wasn’t correct, but that he has the right to return to society,” Moraes told a news conference in the club’s home town of Varginha, about 315km northeast of Sao Paulo.

“He needs to do something and that is football.

“I am someone who likes a challenge,” Moraes added. “Boa is not doing anything wrong, Boa is not a court of justice, Boa is an entity in the world of sports. And Bruno knows how to play football.”

Bruno also appeared before the media but he declined to answer questions that were not directly about playing.

The 32-year old, who won the first division with Flamengo in 2009, said he had the backing of God and his family.

“I am very happy to have been given this opportunity,” he said. “I don’t care what people say. What matters to me is that I am starting again. It’s a lot of responsibility.”