A French player accused of attacking a teammate

A former Paris Saint-Germain women’s soccer player was charged with aggravated assault on Friday as part of the investigation into a violent attack on a female teammate last year by masked men wearing a metal bar.

The player, Aminata Diallo, was arrested in the early hours of Friday morning. Later in the day, she was charged with what the prosecutor in the case said was a planned and deliberate attack on then-Paris Saint-Germain teammate Kheira Hamraoui. According to the public prosecutor’s statement, Diallo was temporarily placed in prison pending further talks with the investigating judge. The prosecutor has called on her to face pretrial detention, which means she will remain in prison while she awaits further developments in the case.

The attack on Hamraoui became headlines in France and abroad last year due to the nature of the attack and the subsequent arrest of Diallo. The cinematic story line — masked men in a barbell on a dark street, reports of marital infidelity and unsubstantiated reports that a playtime battle was factored into the attack — prompted the filmmakers to approach both women about collaborating on projects.

But the accident also shook both the Paris Saint-Germain team and the French national team, in which both women played, and even led to annulment of marriage The famous former French player Eric Abidal. Obaidal’s wife, Hayat Obaidal, filed for divorce last year, claiming that her husband admitted to an extramarital affair with al-Hamrawi.

Prosecutors said that three men had confessed to being at the scene and a fourth had confessed to beating al-Hamrawi. The prosecutor’s statement said that the four men implicated Diallo in organizing the attack on her orders, and claimed that the plot was an attempt to take El Hamraoui’s place in the Paris Saint-Germain team.

These details bear striking similarities to the infamous attack on Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan in 1994. Kerrigan was attacked at the United States Championships that year in a plot hatched by the ex-husband of a competitive skater, Tonya Harding. Kerrigan was assaulted after a training session by a man who repeatedly hit her in the legs with a police baton.

Diallo has maintained her innocence from the start, and was released without charge 36 hours later in her first arrest last year. Neither she nor her lawyer made any public comments on Friday.

The attack on Hamraoui followed a group dinner last November in an upscale restaurant in a park on the outskirts of Paris. Diallo offered al-Hamrawi a ride home, but after dropping off her third colleague at her home, their journey was halted when two men appeared in front of the car Diallo was driving, opened the passenger door and let al-Hamrawi out. Then one of the men began hitting al-Hamrawi with a metal rod, concentrating on her legs and leaving her injured and bruised. Diallo told police that another man pinned her to the steering wheel during the attack.

A week after the attack, Diallo was arrested, and she remained in police custody for 36 hours. The Versailles public prosecutor’s office confirmed at the time that an acquaintance of Diallo, a man in Lyon who had been in prison on unrelated charges, had been questioned and then released.

The accident ruined the careers of both women. Diallo, 27, retired from professional football this summer after her contract with Paris Saint-Germain expired. El Hamraoui, 32, is still under contract with Paris Saint-Germain, but is in disagreement with the club over her treatment after she was not selected to play by the team’s current management.

Both players were left out of France’s squad for this summer’s European Women’s Championship in England.

Diallo’s lawyer, Mourad Batikh, did not respond to a request for comment on Friday. But earlier this week, after several men were arrested in connection with the attack, Batikh said there was no connection between them and Diallo. “Aminata is innocent and has been claiming her innocence from the start,” he said.

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