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.