Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Aminata Diallo has resumed training for the first time since being released by police without charge after her team-mate Kheira Hamraoui was assaulted, while former Barcelona full-back Eric Abidal has publicly begged his wife for forgiveness for an alleged affair with Hamraoui that has emerged since the attack.
France’s Diallo, 26, spent one night in custody 13 days ago and has denied any involvement in November 4’s violent attack on fellow midfielder Hamraoui, who required several stitches to her legs and hands after being “ambushed” by masked men and hit with an iron bar. Diallo’s lawyer’s later described her arrest as “scandalous”.
French Police continue to investigate that assault and revealed last week that they intended to question former France men’s team star Abidal and that their enquiries did “not exclude” his wife, Hayet.
Hayet Abidal has filed for a divorce while her lawyer, Nicolas Cellupica, told French media that the former France international had “confessed to his wife of having an adulterous relationship” with Hamraoui. That is said to have come to light when French police searched through Hamraoui’s mobile phone’s communication history.
Eric Abidal, 42, took to social media to beg his wife for forgiveness, saying on Instagram: “Hayet Abidal, forgive me. Whatever your decision, you will remain in my eyes the woman of my life, and especially the mother of our wonderful children. I deserve this humiliation even if it kills me alive.” He added the hashtag: #loveyoutothemoonandback.
Hamraoui, 31, suffered significant leg injuries in the attack and required stitches to her legs and hands, and is not yet fit enough to resume training. PSG have reportedly increased security for Hamraoui and Diallo since the attack, which occurred while Hamraoui was a passenger in a car Diallo had been driving.
Diallo and Hamraoui are said to have a long-standing friendship, going on holidays together as part of a group of friends and players, including a trip to Dubai last winter. Both have played for the national team.
Diallo, capped seven times by France, has been with defending French women’s league champions PSG since 2016. She is now back in training, seeing her PSG team-mates for the first time playing in a victory over Real Madrid in the Women’s Champions League on November 9, the night before her arrest which left French Football “stunned”.
Abidal, who spent six years with Catalan giants Barcelona in a decorated playing career, earned 67 caps for France, including playing in the 2006 World Cup final.
Hamraoui’s legal team have declined to comment, telling The Athletic: “We will not make any more interventions for two reasons: 1) to preserve the private life of Hamraoui, and 2) to preserve the confidentiality of the investigation and judicial information which is ongoing.”
Meanwhile, former Everton director Sarvar Ismailov appeared in court on Wednesday charged with grievous bodily harm, after stepping down from the Premier League club’s board for “personal and health reasons” on November 2.
The 26-year-old, who had been the sporting and commercial director of Everton’s women’s team since March 2020, is accused alongside two other men of an assault that took place in Hyde Park Gate, London, on Friday June 11 this year.
Ismailov had also held a position on Everton’s board since July and is the nephew of Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who has close business ties to the Merseyside club.
Ismailov was scheduled to appear via video link at 10.00 GMT at Westminster Magistrates Court and he was reportedly subsequently released on bail after that appearance, with the case adjourned until December 15.
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police confirmed to Telegraph Sport that 26-year-old Ismailov, from Barnet, was charged on Monday, October 25, relating to “an investigation into a report of an assault that occurred at a residential property in Hyde Park Gate, London, on Friday, June 11”.
His brother Sanjar Ismailov from Hempstead, 34, was charged on the same date with grievous bodily harm with intent, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and criminal damage.
A third man, 40-year-old Malik Bilal from Wexham in Slough, was charged with grievous bodily harm, also on October 25. None of the men was remanded in custody.
Ismailov oversaw a significant spending spree at Everton this summer, with the Women’s Super League club signing nine new senior players, including breaking their club-record transfer fee to sign Sweden midfielder Hanna Bennison – who turned 19 in October – from Rosengard for a fee understood to be in excess of £100,000.
What turned out to be one of his last acts in the role as sporting and commercial director was the sacking of former first-team manager Willie Kirk, on October 16, just five league matches into the season.
Ismailov is then understood to have led the recruitment of Kirk’s replacement, the French former Lyon coach Jean-Luc Vasseur, whose appointment was announced by the club on October 29. In that announcement, which it is now known came four days after police charged Ismailov, he told the club website: “We wanted a proven winner and Jean-Luc has won numerous titles. He is determined to improve everyone and he is ambitious. Those are the main characteristics we were looking for and Jean-Luc ticked all the boxes.”
Sources close to two members of the playing squad said that the news of Ismailov being charged came as a surprise to the players on Wednesday.
Everton are ninth in the WSL with 10 points from eight matches so far this term.
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