Santos suspend Robinho contract after backlash

Twitter (@SantosFC)

Santos have suspended their contract with Robinho following a backlash in the wake of his signing. 

Robinho returned to Santos for a third stint this week but the club came under fire due to the player's past sexual assault conviction.

The former Milan forward was in 2017 sentenced by an Italian court to nine years in prison for his alleged involvement in the rape of a 22-year-old woman at a nightclub in 2013. He has lodged an appeal against the ruling after firmly denying any wrongdoing, and the legal process is continuing.

Brazilian orthodontics franchise Orthopride announced it had pulled its financial backing of Santos "out of respect for women", while other companies were said to have demanded action from the club.

A club statement read: "Santos and Robinho report that, by mutual agreement, they decided to suspend the validity of the contract signed on October 10 so that the player can focus exclusively on his defence in the process that runs in Italy."

In a video posted on his official Instagram account, Robinho said: "With a lot of sadness in my heart, I am telling you that I made the decision with the president to suspend my contract at this difficult time in my life.

"My goal has always been to help Santos. If in any way I'm getting in the way, I had better leave and focus on my personal stuff. For the fans [of Santos] and those who like me, I will prove my innocence."

The announcement came after Brazilian media outlet Globo Esporte published what it said were excerpts of court documents from Robinho's case and transcriptions of some of the recordings that were used as evidence.