Paris Saint-Germain women’s footballer Aminata Diallo has been released from police custody after two days of questioning over the assault of a teammate that has rocked the sport in France.
Diallo, who was detained on Wednesday morning in connection with an attack on fellow midfielder Kheira Hamraoui, was released in the afternoon without being charged, Versailles prosecutor Maryvonne Caillibotte told AFP.
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Hamraoui was last week pulled from a car and beaten on the legs with an iron bar by two masked men.
Diallo was driving Hamraoui home at the time and police had sought to determine if she had any link to the violence, which left the victim needing stitches on cuts to her legs and hands.
A third PSG player, Sakina Karchaoui, was called to make a statement by police on Thursday morning, while a man was taken into custody in the city of Lyon on Wednesday, judicial sources said.
But Caillibotte said that the man detained in Lyon, a friend of Diallo, had also been released without charges.
Where the investigation into the assault goes from now is currently unclear after the releases.
The New York Post reported that five Paris Saint-Germain players received threatening phone calls in the days before the attack on Hamraoui.
According to French newspaper L’Equipe, the PSG women were assigned security guards for protection after alleged calls from a married man vowing revenge over an accusation that Hamraoui had a years-long affair with him.
Police have since arrested a 34-year-old friend of Diallo’s on suspicion of making the calls, which began in late October, according to the publication.
Paris Saint-Germain had cancelled a planned media event by the women’s team on Friday, fearing that all the questions would be about an incident that has shaken the wealthy club and the women’s league more broadly.
“It’s something that’s shocked me,” the coach of Lyon’s long-dominant women’s team, Sonia Bompastor, said on Thursday after a Champions League game against Bayern Munich.
“I’m still a bit blown over by this incident. Even among the men, we’ve never seen something like this. It’s obviously negative (for the women’s game).”
Clubs across Europe have ploughed money into women’s football in recent years, with PSG’s team attracting 16,000 supporters to their last game against Real Madrid this week.
Diallo, who played in that match instead of the injured Hamraoui, is presumed innocent and no evidence has been presented so far by police or prosecutors about her involvement in the attack on her teammate.
The Grenoble-born player, 26, has not yet appointed a lawyer and could not be reached for comment.
Diallo and Hamraoui, 31, are rivals in central midfield for PSG and the national team, but were seen as friends.
“They go on holiday together,” the source at the club said.
Given the manner of the attack on Hamraoui and the arrest of Diallo, commentators had recalled a notorious assault on American ice skater Nancy Kerrigan in the run-up to the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.
Her rival Tonya Harding was banned for life after her ex-husband and bodyguard hired a hit man to club Kerrigan in the leg.
The PSG women’s team showed no sign of being unsettled by the attack on Hamraoui during their game against Real Madrid on Tuesday night, winning 4-0.
Hamraoui, a veteran French international, returned to PSG last summer from Barcelona, where she won three titles including the Champions League last year.
She was recalled to the French national team in October after a more than two-year absence, but pulled out because of injury.
Diallo, who has been capped seven times by France, was called up to replace her in the squad, but was not used by coach Corinne Diacre.
With AFP and the New York Post
Police investigate Serie A incident, Fiorentina vs Empoli
Police have launched an investigation into an incident where a female TV presenter was allegedly “molested” by a football fan on live TV.
Italian journalist Greta Beccaglia appeared to be slapped on the backside while reporting from outside a stadium when the camera captured the moment a spectator in a green jacket, camo-styled trousers and purple beanie walked up behind her.
A visibly annoyed and shocked Beccaglia responded with a fright before wagging her finger at the fan, The Sun reports.
Her verbal response has been translated into English as: “Sorry, you can’t do this, I’m sorry.”
Shortly afterwards, another supporter stopped next to Beccaglia before swearing into the camera with a hand gesture.
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The timing of the footage will be particularly concerning for the Italian football authorities.
The spiteful Tuscan derby between Fiorentina as Empoli had been promoted as a designated ‘Violence Against Women’ event that was supposed to raise awareness of an anti-stalking hotline.
The match was the centre piece of a campaign branded: “Give violence against women the red card”.
It has since emerged that police are aware of the incident and have launched an investigation to identify the fan.
Local reports have suggested Empoli police are reviewing video surveillance and speaking to witnesses to try and catch the fan.
One report also indicates police will speak with Beccaglia to get her side of the story.
The incident has also raised questions about the response from the panel of TV studio presenters after they failed to show serious concern for their colleague.
Host Giorgio Micheletti has been criticised for responding to the incident by saying: “Don’t take it”.
The Order of Journalists of Tuscany condemned the incident and the response from Micheletti.
A statement from the guild described the actions against Beccaglia as “molestation”.
“Those in the studio, instead of condemning the gesture and the molester, invited the colleague to ‘not take it’. No words of solidarity were heard towards her from the conductor,” a translated statement claimed.
“The Order reiterates that the time has come stop minimising and remember that violence against women is above all a cultural and social problem.”
The statement said the organisation stands with Beccaglia in solidarity.
“The Order of Journalists of Tuscany today denounces the very serious episode of harassment against a journalist which took place on live TV at the end of the Empoli-Fiorentina match, in the days in which the greatest attention is paid to combating violence against women,” the statement read.
Serie A has also released a statement to show its support for the reporter.
“Violence is expressed in many forms. We condemn them all, today and forever,” the league posted on Twitter.
“Solidarity with Greta Beccaglia.”
Beccaglia on Sunday liked a series of posts on Twitter, which refered to her ordeal as “intolerable” and “aberrant”.
Over the weekend, players in Serie A had sported a red mark on their cheeks to promote a message against domestic violence and to spread awareness of an anti-stalking hotline.
Empoli came from behind in the contest with a late goal snatching a 2-1 victory.
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