Ribery loses appeal after book ‘scum’ slur

Paris (AFP) – Former France international footballer Franck Ribery on Thursday lost an appeal against the author of a book in which he was described as “scum”.

A Paris appeals court upheld the original judgement from last January but overturned a 5,000 euro fine against the 32-year-old footballer for abusive proceedings.

In his 2013 book ‘Racaille Football Club’ (Scum Football Club) about French football, journalist Daniel Riolo examined the disenchantment of the French public with their national team.

Riolo accused Ribery of being one of the main perpetrators of the discontent within the squad and used several derogatory words to describe him — “scarface”, “scum” and “gangster”.

The Bayern winger sued the journalist and his publisher Hugo & Cie for damages but the judge ruled in January that the terms had been used “objectively” and that the lawsuit was “reckless”.

Ribery was subsequently ordered to pay a total of 5,000 euros to Riolo and his publisher, with the judge citing Roselyne Bachelot, the French sports minister, who during the 2010 World Cup referred to some of the French team as “gangsters”.

The appeals court ruled on Thursday that the disputed passages of the book were not “the expression of the author’s opinion, but the relationship (of Ribery) with the media and public opinion”.

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