French players to meet alleged rape victim

Lyon's French international striker Bafetimbi Gomis and Cesena player Yohan Benalouane will on Thursday be confronted with a woman who has levelled rape accusations at them, police said on Thursday.

The two footballers have been in police custody since late Wednesday after the 38-year-old woman claimed she was gang raped by the pair at Gomis’s apartment in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Gomis and former Saint-Etienne teammate Benalouane, now with Cesena in Italy’s Serie B, deny the allegations but were taken in for questioning and were detained overnight.

“Both versions (of the incident) are totally different so today (Thursday) we will be arranging a face to face meeting” between the alleged victim and the players, the police source told AFP.

Police said the alleged victim had not consented to sex with the pair, but “has not accused the accused of being violent”. Police said they were still to determine whether the woman had been coerced into the alleged acts.

A medical examination of the woman has revealed no evidence, according to police, who added that a search of Gomis’s Lyon apartment was “inconclusive”. 

Before being detained Gomis on Wednesday denied the accusations as well as insisting he had not spent the night in custody as some media had reported. 

“I formally deny the accusations that have been made against me and, contrary to what has been written, I absolutely did not spend the night in police custody. Thanks for all your support,” Gomis wrote on his Facebook page and also on Twitter.

According to the Lyon Capitale website an “incident took place between 0100 and 0230 (local time) early on Wednesday morning after a 38-year-old woman was invited to Gomis’s apartment along with another, non-identified player”.

The report added: “The woman accuses both players of rape. She revealed everything to a friend who came to pick her up in the middle of the night.”

Gomis, 26, began his career at Lyon’s bitter rivals Saint-Etienne before moving to the Stade de Gerland for 15 million euros ($18.8m) in 2009.  

He has been capped five times by France, and was part of Les Bleus’ squad at Euro 2008, but was not picked by Laurent Blanc for this summer’s European Championship in Poland and Ukraine.


French prosecutors demand jail term for Russian accused of leaving England football fan with brain damage

French prosecutors on Friday called for a 15-year prison sentence for one of two Russians accused of beating a British supporter during Euro 2016, an attack that left him with brain injuries.

French prosecutors demand jail term for Russian accused of leaving England football fan with brain damage
Russian fans light flares at the match against England in 2016.. Photo: AFP

One prosecutor, Christophe Raffin, asked for the “legal maximum… between 14 and 15 years” for Pavel Kossov, who is accused of throwing the first punch at 55-year-old Andrew Bache.

Bache was injured in the violence that broke out before England played Russia in the southern French port city of Marseille on June 11th, 2016.

The second Russian on trial in Aix-en-Provence, Mikhail Ivkine, stands accused of throwing a chair at the victim, with prosecutors asking for a potential suspended sentence of up to five years.

He has claimed he was defending himself.

“No, it wasn't legitimate self-defence, it was illegitimate use of force against Andrew Bache,” Raffin said of the violence.


Police give emergency aid to Andrew Bache following clashes in the city of Marseille. Photo: AFP

The prosecutors said the Russians were part of a group of about 150 men, many with martial arts training, who wrought havoc in Marseille.

Bache, from Portsmouth in southern England, has no memory of the events and is too frail to attend the trial.

His son Harry, who nurses his father, is representing him in court.