A women’s soccer player from Paris St Germain was released without charge from police custody on Thursday, a day after she was arrested as part of an investigation into a violent attack on one of her teammates by masked men with a metal bar.
The player, Aminata Diallo, was extended her detention for 24 hours by a French prosecutor on Wednesday night and was questioned additionally on Thursday about the incident in which her team-mate Kheira Hamraoui was pulled from a car and beaten on the way home. from a team dinner last week.
Diallo was in police custody for approximately 36 hours. The Versailles prosecutor’s office confirmed that an acquaintance of Diallo, a man in Lyon who had been in prison on unrelated charges, had been questioned and subsequently released. The prosecutors gave no further comment or details about the investigation, or why Diallo or the man were detained.
In France, detention is not uncommon in police investigations. But in most cases, prosecutors must charge suspects or release them within 48 hours. Diallo has not been charged with any crime and police have made no public comments linking her to the attack. But the investigation continues and Diallo could face charges at a later date if evidence implicates her in a crime.
Diallo had been arrested by police officers who arrived at her home around 6 a.m. Wednesday and searched her apartment and a car supplied by the team when the attack happened last week.
Police also seized Diallo’s cell phone and later questioned a 34-year-old man in Lyon who was in prison on suspicion of unrelated charges. The man, who was described as an acquaintance of Diallo, was also released without charge on Thursday, the Versailles prosecutor confirmed.
The news of Diallo’s arrest came as a surprise to Paris St.-Germain, an elite team that is the reigning champions of France and one of the richest and most powerful clubs in world football. Team officials learned of Diallo’s detention on Wednesday morning – and the suggestion that she may have played a role in the attack on Hamraoui – from news media reports, and only after she was taken into custody.
They were further stunned by the allegations because Diallo and Hamraoui were considered friends; L’Equipe and other news media in France reported that the players – who have both played for the French national team but had never been members of the same club before – had even vacationed together.
In the days since last Thursday night’s attack, Diallo – who was unharmed in the incident – had continued to practice with the team and had started Tuesday and played almost the entire game when PSG defeated Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Hours later she was arrested.
The attack happened after Diallo and her teammates attended a team bonding dinner. After that, Diallo and two other members of the team, including Hamraoui, had traveled home together in the team-issued Toyota from Diallo, as they live close together in the same Paris suburb.
After dropping off their teammate, Diallo and Hamraoui had their car stopped by two masked men as it approached Hamraoui’s house. There, in the dark, and as the players tried to defend themselves, one of the men pulled Hamraoui out of the car and hit her with a metal bar while the other kept Diallo at a distance. The attacker reportedly paid particular attention to administering blows to Hamraoui’s legs.
Hamraoui, who suffered cuts and bruises but no broken bones, was treated in hospital for her injuries. She made a report that evening to the police and the club’s security officials.
But as she suffered stitches and severe bruises, she was banned from the team’s match against Real Madrid on Tuesday. At the time, the club declared her absence as a personal problem and put her friend Diallo in her place in the starting lineup.
On Sunday, PSG will return to the field for the showcase game of the new French season, en route against rival Lyon. Neither Diallo nor Hamraoui are expected to play.
Aurelien Breeden contributed from Paris.