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.
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
Latest in Sport
Tim Sherwood challenges Daniel Levy to set out vision for Tottenham Hotspur’s future
The worst owner in football? Vincent Tan faces fan backlash as Malky Mackay clings to Cardiff job
Bonuses for goals and top four finish as Luiz Suarez joins Premier League's top three earners
Transfer news: Tottenham Hotspur - January transfer targets
Luis Suarez: Liverpool striker ends exit speculation by signing 'long-term' contract
- 1 Bonuses for goals and top four finish as Luiz Suarez joins Premier League's top three earners
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 #Teamnigella: It’s the only side to be on
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 5 Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police