Prostitution investigation hits France squad
Monday 19 April 2010
France's World Cup preparations were overshadowed today by news that players, including the talismanic Franck Ribery, had been heard as witnesses by police investigating a prostitution network.
Two players have already been questioned and two more could follow, a source close to the investigation told Reuters.
The source declined to give names but all four are France players, according to French media, and Ribery is one of them, his lawyer said in a statement.
"Personalities including Franck Ribery and other players of international fame count in their relations a person close to the leader of an escort girls network," lawyer Sophie Bottai said in a statement.
"It is only because of that relationship that they have been or will be heard by police investigating this case," she added.
French media said the four were clients of a night club in Paris's posh Champs-Elysees district that allegedly featured escort girls.
The French Football Federation (FFF) declined to comment on the reports, which got prominent play in some French newspapers today.
France, preparing for the June 11-July 11 World Cup finals in South Africa, could have done without all this.
The former world and European champions have faced criticism for under-performing ever since reaching the final of the last World Cup four years ago in Germany.
Their coach, the uncompromising Raymond Domenech, is extremely unpopular and booed at every game and, to make matters worse, France needed a goal marred by blatant handball from Thierry Henry to knock out Ireland in a playoff for the finals.
Ribery, usually energetic on the pitch and unassuming off it, is probably the most popular player in the squad.
Latest in Sport
Manchester United 0 Liverpool 3: Steven Gerrard says Liverpool were 'upset' after Old Trafford win, because 'we didn't score more goals'
Manchester United 0 Liverpool 3: Wayne Rooney claims 'that was my worst day in football' following humiliation at Old Trafford
Tottenham 0 Arsenal 1 match report: Tomas Rosicky rocket sees Arsenal open up gap from Spurs in Premier League table
Manchester United 0 Liverpool 3 - player ratings: Who scored highest at Old Trafford - Steven Gerrard or Luis Suarez?
Mo Farah collapse: Olympic gold winner allays health fears after passing out in New York half-marathon defeat
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Gender-specific books demean all our children. So the Independent on Sunday will no longer review anything marketed to exclude either sex
- 3 Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Did jetliner fly into area controlled by Taliban? Net widens after claims final satellite signal could have been sent from the ground
- 4 Nasa-funded study warns of ‘collapse of civilisation’ in coming decades
- 5 'Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plane found in Bermuda Triangle!' Viral Facebook links are profiting hackers
Ukip and Nigel Farage on course for remarkable victory in European elections
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
Tony Benn was entirely ineffectual - and usually wrong
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say