Dani Alves indicted in sexual assault case in Spain

Dani Alves indicted in sexual assault case in Spain
A judge has decided to indict Brazilian soccer player Dani Alves following an investigation into sexual assault accusations against him. (AP)
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Updated 02 August 2023
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Dani Alves indicted in sexual assault case in Spain

Dani Alves indicted in sexual assault case in Spain
  • Alves was indicted after being formally informed by the judge of her findings
  • Lawyers said that the former Barcelona defender spoke briefly before the judge on Wednesday

MADRID: Dani Alves denied wrongdoing after being indicted by a judge in a sexual assault case in Spain on Wednesday.
The Brazilian soccer star told the judge in a Barcelona court that he was not in agreement with the findings of the investigation into allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman at a nightclub in Barcelona on Dec. 30.
Alves was indicted after being formally informed by the judge of her findings. Prosecutors will now specify the charges against him. A trial date will be set for later this year or early in 2024.
Alves was also ordered to set aside 150,000 euros ($164,000) to pay his alleged victim if he is eventually found guilty and ordered to pay damages.
Lawyers said that the former Barcelona defender spoke briefly before the judge on Wednesday. He has said that the sex was consensual.
Alves has been in custody since January awaiting the conclusion of the investigation. He is expected to remain in custody awaiting the trial. His bail requests have been denied because he is considered a flight risk. The player had offered to turn in his passports and wear a tracking device.
A judge ordered Alves to be jailed after analyzing the initial probe by authorities and hearing testimony from the alleged victim, witnesses and Alves.
Alves’ lawyers unsuccessfully tried to discredit testimony by the alleged victim and other witnesses by presenting security camera footage at the nightclub. The court has said that any flirting should not “in any way justify an eventual sexual assault.”
Under Spain’s sexual consent law passed last year, sexual assault takes in a wide array of crimes from online abuse and groping to rape, each with different possible punishments. A case of rape can carry a maximum sentence of 15 years.
The 40-year-old Alves won 42 soccer titles, including three Champions Leagues with Barcelona and two Copa Americas with Brazil. He played in his third World Cup last year in Qatar.


Paqueta to stay in Brazil squad ahead of Copa America as he fights spot-fixing charges in England

Paqueta to stay in Brazil squad ahead of Copa America as he fights spot-fixing charges in England
Updated 30 May 2024
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Paqueta to stay in Brazil squad ahead of Copa America as he fights spot-fixing charges in England

Paqueta to stay in Brazil squad ahead of Copa America as he fights spot-fixing charges in England
  • He was charged with misconduct on May 23 and faces a long ban if found guilty by English soccer authorities
  • Paqueta immediately took to social media to deny the charges

RIO DE JANEIRO: Lucas Paqueta can continue to play for Brazil while he fights spot-fixing charges by the English Football Association, his national team said Thursday.
Paqueta, who plays his club soccer for West Ham, is alleged to have deliberately received yellow cards during Premier League matches to influence betting markets.
He was charged with misconduct on May 23 and faces a long ban if found guilty by English soccer authorities.
Paqueta immediately took to social media to deny the charges, vowing to “fight with every breath to clear my name,” but has until Monday to formally respond to the allegations. The English FA has acknowledged that Paqueta may request for an extension before issuing his official response.
In a long statement on Thursday, the Brazilian Football Confederation said it was aware of the allegations and contacted the English FA for information.
Based on the English FA’s responses, confederation president Ednaldo Rodrigues Gomes said Paqueta will stay in Brazil’s squad ahead of the Copa America starting June 20 and remains free to play in upcoming friendlies against Mexico and the United States.


Saudi national football team prepares for Asian qualifiers

Saudi national football team prepares for Asian qualifiers
Updated 30 May 2024
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Saudi national football team prepares for Asian qualifiers

Saudi national football team prepares for Asian qualifiers
  • Players participating in the King’s Cup final between Al-Nasser and Al-Hilal on Friday will join the national squad on Sunday
  • Green Falcons fly to Islamabad on Wednesday for their game against Pakistan on Thursday, and then host Jordan in Riyadh on June 11

RIYADH: The Saudi national football team gathered at their training camp in Riyadh on Thursday to begin preparations for the upcoming Asian qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup and the 2027 Asian Cup.
As the Green Falcons held their first training session on Thursday evening behind closed doors at Mahd Academy, members of the squad from Al-Nasser and Al-Hilal, who will meet in the final of the King’s Cup on Friday, were absent. They will join the national team’s preparations on Sunday after head coach Roberto Mancini gave them a day off on Saturday to recover.
The 31-player squad, announced by Mancini last week, will fly out on Wednesday for their game against Pakistan in Islamabad on June 6, and then host Jordan at Alwal park in Riyadh on June 11.
Saudi Arabia currently tops Group G of the Asian qualifiers, with 10 points from four games, ahead of Jordan (7 points) and Tajikistan (5). Pakistan are bottom of the group having lost all four games so far.


Maradona’s heirs lose court battle to block auction of World Cup Golden Ball trophy

Maradona’s heirs lose court battle to block auction of World Cup Golden Ball trophy
Updated 30 May 2024
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Maradona’s heirs lose court battle to block auction of World Cup Golden Ball trophy

Maradona’s heirs lose court battle to block auction of World Cup Golden Ball trophy
  • Maradona’s heirs tried to stop the auction of the Golden Ball trophy he received for being the best player of the 1986 World Cup
  • Lawyer Gilles Moreu told The AP the court’s ruling “was not favorable to the heirs of Diego Maradona” and said he would lodge an appeal

PARIS: A French court ruled the auction of a trophy awarded to the late Diego Maradona after the 1986 World Cup can go ahead as planned despite opposition from his heirs, their lawyer told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Maradona’s heirs tried to stop the auction of the Golden Ball trophy he received for being the best player of the 1986 World Cup by starting an urgent judicial procedure. Lawyer Gilles Moreu told The AP the court’s ruling “was not favorable to the heirs of Diego Maradona” and said he would lodge an appeal.
The trophy is set to be auctioned next Thursday in Paris by the Aguttes auction house, which did not immediately comment on the ruling.
The Golden Ball was missing for decades after it disappeared in uncertain circumstances and only recently resurfaced. Maradona’s heirs say the trophy was stolen and claimed the current owner wasn’t entitled to sell it. Aguttes said the trophy reappeared in 2016 among other lots that were acquired from a private collection at auction in Paris.
Moreu said the president of the Nanterre court outside Paris considered the current owner of the trophy, identified as Mr. Benchaieb, “should be considered as acting in good faith.”
Benchaieb and Aguttes claimed that when he bought the trophy years ago he was not aware it had been stolen.
“The Ballon d’Or is a unique piece of property, which Diego Maradona’s children want back,” Moreu said. “My clients are extremely saddened by the court’s decision.”
Maradona received the award in 1986 at a ceremony at the Lido cabaret on the Champs-Élysées. It subsequently disappeared, giving rise to rumors. Some say it was lost during a poker game or sold to pay off debts. Others say Maradona stored it in a safe in a Naples bank that was robbed by local gangsters in 1989 when he played in the Italian league. Maradona’s heirs believe it was stolen from the bank.
French judicial officials last week opened an investigation after they received a complaint relating to the resale of allegedly stolen goods. The Nanterre prosecutor’s office did not say whether the court’s decision would have an impact on the probe, and if it was still ongoing.
Maradona, who died in 2020 at age 60, captained Argentina in its 3-2 win over West Germany in the 1986 final in Mexico City. In a quarterfinal win over England he scored the “Hand of God” goal and the “Goal of the Century.”
Aguttes said it expects the trophy “to fetch millions due to its uniqueness.”
Bidders will be asked to make a deposit of 150,000 euros ($161,000) to participate in the auction.
The Hand of God goal came when Maradona punched the ball into England’s net. Four minutes later, he weaved through England’s midfield and defense and past goalkeeper Peter Shilton for what FIFA later declared the greatest goal in World Cup history.


Kompany to stick with same footballing principles after swapping Burnley for Bayern Muncih

Kompany to stick with same footballing principles after swapping Burnley for Bayern Muncih
Updated 30 May 2024
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Kompany to stick with same footballing principles after swapping Burnley for Bayern Muncih

Kompany to stick with same footballing principles after swapping Burnley for Bayern Muncih
  • “At this club and this journey, I have no intention of being a different person,” Kompany said
  • Kompany said the fact that next season’s Champions League final is being staged at Munich’s Allianz Arena will be used as some motivation

MUNICH: Vincent Kompany insists his footballing principles will not change after swapping the Championship for the Champions League by making the unlikely move from Burnley to Bayern Munich.
Kompany led Burnley to promotion to the Premier League in his first season at the northwest English club, only to get a reality check when his bold and attacking style of play was exposed in the top division.
Burnley’s relegation led to accusations by some that Kompany’s tactics were naïve, but the former Manchester City and Belgium defender said he was proud to have stayed consistent “in the very highs and the very lows” and will be working the same way at Bayern.
“At this club and this journey, I have no intention of being a different person,” Kompany said on Thursday at a news conference where he was presented as the replacement for Thomas Tuchel. “I don’t think that’s what they want.”
Kompany will, therefore, ask the same things from Bayern’s higher-quality players as he did from those at Burnley.
“I want the players of Bayern Munich to be brave, really brave on the ball, to have personality on the ball,” he said. “But also my nature is, I’m also someone that is aggressive, so I want the team to be aggressive.
“I want the team to represent those two things that would make my character — absolutely brave when they have the ball, when they’re making decisions, and absolutely aggressive, something that they carry throughout every minute of the game always.”
Kompany said the fact that next season’s Champions League final is being staged at Munich’s Allianz Arena will be used as some motivation.
“The goal is for me quite simple: I always try to win every match. It doesn’t matter where you are, it is always most, most important that we want to win every match,” he said. “That the Champions League final is here in Munich might make it a bit more important than the others, if I am honest. But I know we will not reach it by just expressing it.”


Celebrations in Greece as Olympiakos beat Fiorentina 1-0 for first European title

Celebrations in Greece as Olympiakos beat Fiorentina 1-0 for first European title
Updated 30 May 2024
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Celebrations in Greece as Olympiakos beat Fiorentina 1-0 for first European title

Celebrations in Greece as Olympiakos beat Fiorentina 1-0 for first European title
  • Olympiakos coach Jose Luis Mendilibar secured a second straight European title after winning the Europa League with Sevilla last season
  • Tens of thousands of Olympiakos fans joined wild celebrations across the Greek capital after attending outdoor viewing parties

ATHENS: Olympiakos won Greece’s first European club title by beating Fiorentina 1-0 with a last-gasp goal in extra time in the Europa Conference League final on Wednesday.

Ayoub El Kaabi provided the dramatic ending, diving to nudge in a last-gasp goal in the second period of extra time, with fans erupting in celebration after a lengthy wait for a VAR check for offside.

The Moroccan striker — who finished as the competition’s top scorer — struck in the 116th minute of the match, dropping to his knees as he waited the goal review. El Kaabi met a cross from Santiago Hezze to decide a game that had looked destined for a penalty shootout following an energetic but largely risk-free encounter at AEK Arena.

The late goal condemned Fiorentina and ttheir coach Vincenzo Italiano to a second straight defeat in the final of the Europa Conference League, after losing last year to West Ham.

Olympiakos coach Jose Luis Mendilibar secured a second straight European title after winning the Europa League with Sevilla last season.

Tens of thousands of Olympiakos fans joined wild celebrations across the Greek capital after attending outdoor viewing parties. Youths held up lit flares in the port city of Piraeus, near Athens, where the team is based.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis described Olympiakos as “a true legend,” adding in an online post: “Olympiakos has won the Europa Conference League and made history! A sensational night for the club itself, but also for Greek football as a whole.”

The third-tier European club competition took place amid a massive security operation, with some 5,000 police officers forming concentric cordons around a northern area of the capital.

The final was briefly marred by scuffles between Fiorentina fans inside the stadium and riot police next to them.

Although the visitors dominated the early stages of the final, Fiorentina goalkeeper Pietro Terracciano kept his team in the game with two impressive fingertip saves to block on-target shots from Daniel Podence in the fourth minute and Stevan Jovetic in the sixth minute of extra time.

El Kaabi, who scored a total of 11 goals in the competition, had been largely sidelined in the match by Fiorentina’s unyielding four-man defense.