Police in France arrested a member of the Paris St.-Germain women’s soccer team on Wednesday as part of an investigation into an attack on one of her teammates, who was pulled from a car last week and hit in the leg by masked men wearing masks. metal bars.
The club confirmed that the arrested player, midfielder Aminata Diallo, has been detained as part of an investigation into an attack on his players last Thursday. PSG, which secured its first championship this year, gave no further details about the incident, or named the players who had been attacked.
Diallo, 26, was taken into custody on Wednesday morning, a day after she replaced her injured team-mate Kheira Hamraoui in PSG’s midfield for the Champions League game against Real Madrid. Hamraoui, a 31-year-old who was signed to Barcelona for this season, did not play in the game; she is recovering from injuries to both her legs and her hands sustained in the attack, which took place after a team dinner.
Hamraoui had accepted a ride home from Diallo after the meal. While they were driving, the car was stopped by two men, according to a person familiar with the situation, who confirmed details first published by the sports newspaper L’Equipe. The women were pulled from the vehicle, the person said, and while Diallo was being held by one of the attackers, Hamraoui was attacked.
“Paris St.-Germain is working with the Versailles police to clarify the facts,” the team said in a statement. “The club is closely monitoring the progress of the proceedings and will investigate what action needs to be taken.”
The incident and allegations immediately brought to mind the 1994 attack on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, who was assaulted during that year’s U.S. Championships in a plot orchestrated by the ex-husband of a rival skater, Tonya Harding. Kerrigan was attacked after a practice session by a man who repeatedly beat her in the leg with a police baton.
After Kerrigan was forced to withdraw from the Championships due to her injuries, Harding won the competition to claim a place on the 1994 U.S. Olympic team. Kerrigan was later named to the team despite failing to qualify, and a few weeks later he won the silver medal at the Lillehammer Games. Harding, who long denied involvement in the attack but pleaded guilty to obstructing the prosecution, finished eighth.
The scandal was revived in 2017 with the release of a fictional biopic, “I Tonya.”
PSG said on Wednesday it had provided its players with additional security in the days following the attack, an additional layer of protection it regularly arranges for its well-known men’s players. Several PSG players have had their homes robbed in recent years – sometimes while family members were inside – while they were away playing games.
Last Thursday’s attack left Hamraoui very shaken, with cuts and severe bruises, but no broken bones in her legs.
“Since Thursday evening, the club has taken all necessary measures to ensure the health, well-being and safety of the entire women’s team,” the PSG statement said.
Competition for places with the French champions has intensified after the women’s team finally put an end to the dominance of its league and continental rival Lyon by winning its first French title last season. PSG had finished second to Lyon eight times in the past ten years.
The signing of Hamraoui, 31, from European champions Barcelona for a second stint at PSG was part of the club’s efforts to strengthen its position amid ongoing domestic rivalry with Lyon. The two clubs are at the top of the French league, having each won all seven matches they have played this season.
Diallo had returned from a loan to Atlético Madrid and has been effectively used as Hamraoui’s understudy. Hamraoui, a former France international, represented her country at the 2015 Women’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.