France using Ribery as ‘scapegoat,’ Bayern Munich boss says

French authorities are hounding Franck Ribery over under-age sex allegations because of France's awful World Cup performance, the chairman of the midfielder's German club Bayern Munich said Thursday.

France using Ribery as 'scapegoat,' Bayern Munich boss says
Photo: DPA

“I think the whole story is politically motivated because of France’s poor performance in the World Cup. Ribery is being made a scapegoat,” Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told the German daily Bild. “We are very worried about the outcome of the case.”

Ribery, 27, was hauled in for seven hours of questioning by Paris magistrates on Wednesday. He was charged with having sex with an under-age prostitute and then released.

Ribery’s French international teammate Karim Benzema, 22, was also detained for questioning and justice officials said he too was likely to face charges over his alleged relations with the same teenage call girl.

The magistrate’s indictment is the first stage of a judicial investigation that could lead to a trial and, if convicted, Ribery and Benzema face three years in jail and a fine of €45,000.

Ribery has never denied paying for sex with Zahia Dehar, now 18, but his lawyer told reporters that the player had had no idea in 2008 that she was under-age.

The married mid-fielder failed to score in France’s ill-fated campaign in the World Cup in South Africa, won by Spain earlier this month. France, which took the title in 1998, were eliminated in the group stage.

He is a highly valued member of Bundesliga champions Bayern, although last season he was plagued with injury and was suspended for its Champions League final defeat to Inter Milan after a red card in the semi-final first leg.

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British football teams allowed to skip Germany’s quarantine for Euro 2020

Germany's government announced on Tuesday it will allow England, Scotland and Wales to enter the country without quarantine to play at Euro 2020 despite a recent rise in cases linked to the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Britain.

British football teams allowed to skip Germany's quarantine for Euro 2020
One of the venues for Euro 2020 is in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

The three teams could potentially reach the quarter-final held in Munich on July 2nd.

If that were the case, they would be exempt from the rule that travellers from the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland must currently observe a 14-day isolation period due to the virus strain of concern – Delta – first identified in India.

“The people accredited for the European football Championship are exempt from the quarantine obligation, even after arriving from an area impacted by a variant” Berlin said in a statement.

“This exemption concerns all the people who have been accredited by the organising committee for the preparation, participation, the holding and the follow-up of international sporting events,” it added.

The exemption does not include fans, who will be obliged to follow German government self-isolation rules.

Germany declared the UK a ‘virus variant area of concern’ on May 23rd due to rising cases linked to the Delta variant in parts of the country. 

READ ALSO: Germany makes UK ‘virus variant area of concern’: How does it affect you?

This reclassification came just seven days after the UK was put back on Germany’s list at the lowest risk level, and barely a month after it was taken off all risk lists completely.

The ban was put in place despite the UK’s relatively low Covid rates as a precautionary measure.

A general ban on entry is in place for people coming from countries on the ‘virus variant’ list – such as India and Brazil – the highest of Germany’s risk categories. 

There are some exceptions for entering from these countries – for example German residents and citizens. However, anyone who does enter from Germany is required to submit a Covid-19 test before boarding the flight and must quarantine for 14 days on arrival, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or not.

READ ALSO: Germany’s new relaxed quarantine and testing rules after travel

Euro 2020 starts on Friday as Italy host Turkey in Rome with the Bavarian city hosting three group games as well as the last-eight match.

Around 14,000 fans will be allowed into the Allianz Arena for the fixtures.