France players backed in prostitute scandal
Tuesday 20 April 2010
The French Football Federation has come out in support of players implicated in a sex scandal, claiming they believe the quartet are innocent until proven otherwise.
Four France internationals have been questioned by French police over allegations of having sex with an under-age prostitute who they met at a popular Parisian nightclub, although none of them have yet been charged.
Widespread reports suggest Lyon striker Sidney Govou is among the quartet, something he and his club have strenuously denied.
France football's governing body (FFF) are refusing to comment on the matter but insist they have every faith in the justice system.
A statement on the official website read: "The French Football association have learnt about the prostitution scandal which implicates simply as witnesses at this stage some footballers from the France team. In this context the FFF would like to make the following remarks:
"The FFF would like to highlight their commitment to the principle of the presumption of innocence.
"The Federation has every confidence in the justice system to carry the investigation through and identify those possibly responsible.
"Not having access to the case, the Federation will abstain from any comment until the courts have given their conclusions, all the while remaining aware of the development of the proceedings and of their consequences."
Lyon have released a statement denying Govou is involved.
It read: "Olympique Lyonnais would like to publicly give their support to their player Sidney Govou whose name has been unfairly mentioned in a judicial affair.
"The club would like to highlight the comments of his lawyer Thierry Braillard who affirmed that Sidney Govou is not implicated, neither directly nor indirectly, in this affair.
"Olympique Lyonnais reaffirm their support and confidence in Sidney Govou with whom they mean to continue to prepare in the best conditions Wednesday's semi-final against Bayern Munich."
Prostitution is legal in France but the girl in question was a minor at the time.
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