Spanish police arrested on Thursday three Real Madrid youth players for allegedly distributing a sexual video featuring a minor, with the arrests heightening the furore about sexism and macho behaviour in Spanish soccer.
The players, who are not minors, were later released following a court decision and after the data on their mobile phones was seized, police said in a statement.
The case stems from a complaint filed by the mother of a 16-year-old girl in the Canary Islands regarding an alleged recording of sexual relations, police said. They added that while the girl maintained the relations were consensual, the recording took place in June without her consent and that she had recently become aware of it.
The arrests come amid allegations of sexual abuse against former soccer federation chief Luis Rubiales, who kissed Spain's World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso on the lips last month, unleashing a wave of indignation similar to the Me Too movement.
Rubiales resigned on Sunday after weeks of defying calls for him to step down, and is due to appear before a judge on Friday. He maintains that the kiss was mutual and consensual.
Police said the three had been detained at the Real Madrid sports complex in Madrid and a fourth player was being investigated. One of those arrested is a reserve team player and two play for the third team.
Real Madrid issued a statement saying only that a total of four youth team players had been questioned by police "in connection with a complaint about an alleged release of a private video via WhatsApp" messaging system.
According to El Confidencial newspaper, the main subject of the probe is a player of the third team, who allegedly recorded his sexual relationship with the 16-year-old victim.
All three are suspected of committing a felony known in Spanish criminal law as "revealing secrets of a sexual nature", a police spokesperson said.