Corinthians women's protest not about convicted coach Cuca - manager

Cuca was appointed Corinthians men's head coach last week.">

Corinthians women's head coach Arthur Elias has said the joint statement he and his players issued on social media to "respect women" was not directed at manager Alexi "Cuca" Stival, instead saying it was a "general" message.

The Brazilian club appointed Cuca as men's head coach last week, replacing sacked Fernando Lazaro. However, Corinthians have faced backlash due to Cuca's conviction of rape in 1987, with dozens of fans protesting on Monday outside the club's headquarters holding banners demanding the coach's exit.

One of the banners read: "Corinthians will be the people's team and the people will make the team."

Speaking ahead of his team's 2-0 defeat at Internacional on Monday, Elias said: "Cuca, who is a super victorious, experienced coach, is one of the best we have in the country. [Club president] Duilio [Monteiro Alves] talked to the players, he talked to me too, there was a very important conversation in this regard. It was clear that the club has no doubt that he [Cuca] is innocent."

Elias said their message "was very misunderstood both by the press and by fans."

"The group of players wanted to take a stand on the subject, they speak in general, they are proud of what it is to wear this Corinthians shirt, it wasn't any kind of manifesto, protest... it's not [directed] at Cuca or our president," Elias added.

''The players in no way wanted to hit out at Cuca, they positioned themselves on an issue that is sensitive to them, women."

Cuca, 59, was convicted in absentia in 1987 by a Swiss court to 15 months' imprisonment for engaging in a sexual act with a minor two years earlier while playing for Gremio, a sentence he never served because he left the country before the conviction.

Cuca denied any wrongdoing.