Former FC Barcelona player Gio Queiroz has accused the club of subjecting her to harassment and illegal detention. In an open letter to Barcelona president Joan Laporta, she exposed the "humiliating situations" she found herself in before her move to Levante.

Furthermore, she highlighted her view that the treatment she received was primarily due to the fact that she was an underage girl at the time. She did not name the accused individuals, but described their actions as "harassment and male violence against women."

In the letter, which was reproduced in part by Marca, the Brazilian footballer said, "Dear President [Laporta]. It has not been easy to reach this point. It has taken many months of anguish and suffering. Despite everything I have been through, today I am able to denounce abusive behaviour that I suffered within the Barcelona women's team...."

She went on to accuse the club of allowing a disturbing culture to fester within their ranks. "The culture of harassment and male violence against women cannot be accepted or tolerated. The vast majority of aggressors use their power within corporations to subjugate their victims, including the most vulnerable, such as underage girls."

Queiroz was only 17 years old when she joined the club, and she claims that she was pressured to make career decisions against her will. "I received indications that playing with the Brazilian national team would not be the best thing for my future at the club," she said.

"Other pressure mechanisms began to take place. They were harassing me in an abusive way so that I would give up representing the Brazilian national team. Arbitrary methods were used with the clear aim of damaging my professional life within the club," she explained.

Furthermore, she added that she was subjected "to an illegal isolation by the head of the club's medical services." The incident took place after she was identified as a close contact of a person who tested positive for Covid-19.

"They locked me up illegally and I couldn't leave the house. I could not train or have a normal routine. I was devastated," she complained, further arguing that the restrictions put in place by the local government at the time did not require her to quarantine. However, private organisations and employers often implement further measures to protect their employees.

Queiroz then reported to national team duty for Brazil after her quarantine, but was met with sanctions upon her return to Barcelona. "I was accused of having committed a serious indiscipline and that, as a result, I would be removed from the team and suffer serious consequences. I was completely shocked," she said.

At the time, the club had claimed that the player breached quarantine protocols and had travelled to play for Brazil without the club and the team captains' consent. It was also against the advice of Barcelona's medical team.

"As time went by, the abuse and psychological violence became more intense and destructive. Women deserve respect and dignity," she added.

The complaint had apparently been brought to the attention of both Barcelona management and FIFA in the past, where the club was not found to be guilty of any wrongdoing.

Barcelona Femeni players LLUIS GENE/AFP