Bayern Munich and France winger Franck Ribery’s summer just keeps getting worse. From failing with France at the World Cup, to facing up to three years in prison for having sex with an underage prostitute.
This story first broke in 2009, when Ribery was first questioned with regards to a prostitution ring in France. It had come out in the press that Ribery and France teammate Karim Benzema had solicited prostitution from an underage prostitute, who was only 16 at the time. In France, prostitution is legal over the age of 18.
Now, it seems, Franck Ribery has been charged with solicitation of an underage prostitute, and may face up to three years in prison and a hefty fine for his crime. Ribery and Benzema, though, deny any wrongdoing. At first glance, one could assume that they feel they’re above the law. Well, technically, they are.
According to Franck Ribery’s lawyer, Ribery and Benzema have not committed a crime. She is quoted as telling the French press;
“This crime [of which he is suspected] is an intentional crime: he would have had to know her age, which was not the case. She would have had to look like a minor, which was not the case. She would have to be claiming that she had told him she was a minor, which is not the case,” she told French radio.
It seems Ribery and Benzema will escape with a warning here, because even the prostitute herself admitted that she did not inform Ribery and Benzema about her age.
Still, the problem persists. What on earth is happening to French football? Laurent Blanc has a massive uphill struggle on his hands instilling first some discipline, and second some respect back into the French camp. It will be interesting to see who indeed makes it into Blanc’s side for 2012 and then 2014.