International Soccer

Mid-Day Ticker: Ribery, Benzema face trial; Welbeck set for new deal and more

BenzemaRibery (Getty Images)

The underage prostitution scandal that rocked the French national team prior to its lackluster showing in the 2010 FIFA World Cup is back in the news.

Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery and Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema are facing a trial for allegedly soliciting an underage prostitute a few years ago. The allegations stem back to incidents from 2008 and 2009, when both players allegedly paid to sleep with Zahia Dehar, who was underage at the time. The players both stated that they were unaware Dehar, now 20, was underage, and Dehar corroborated that by saying that she did not tell them her age. 

If convicted, both players face a maximum penalty of three years in jail or a €45,000 fine. According to CNN, the trial is "months away" from happening and could carry on into next year.

Here are a few more stories to keep your day going:


Rising England star Danny Welbeck is not leaving Old Trafford anytime soon. 

The 21-year-old Manchester United striker is set to sign a five-year contract extension with the Red Devils. Welbeck, whose contract was set to expire next summer, is coming off a season in which he scored 12 goals in all competitions and was a vital part of England's run at the 2012 European championship.

The signing maintains United's wealth of attacking options with Wayne Rooney and former Borussia Dortmund star Shinji Kagawa teaming with Welbeck to provide a promising attacking core. With the continuing speculation that Robin van Persie will move to Old Trafford, Manchester United could wind up with one of the more explosive units in the Premier League.


Arsenal winger Theo Walcott will miss England's friendly against Italy on Wednesday after suffering a bruise to his thigh. The injury is said to not be serious and his withdrawal is more of a precaution as Arsenal prepare to open their season on Saturday against Sunderland.

Arsenal centerback Laurent Koscielny will also miss his country's mid-week friendly, as the calf injury that he picked up in a friendly against FC Cologne will prevent him from suiting up for France against Uruguay. 


The return of Team Great Britain during this summer's Olympics was a one-time thing. 

After a combined effort in 2012, there will not be a combined UK men's team for the 2016 Olympics and it is doubtful that the women will field a combined side, either, the FA announced.

"Within the men's game it is not going to happen again," FA general secretary Alex Horne told The Times (UK). "On the women's side, I'm going to say it's unlikely, for the same reason. But you can understand why it's more compelling. Olympic football for women is the pinnacle."


What do you make of the news involving Ribery and Benzema? What do you think the long-term signing of Welbeck and potential signing of Van Persie means for Chicharito? Think Walcott is in for a big year with Arsenal? Did you like the combined Team Great Britain idea? Disappointed that it won't be happening again?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Todd

    I never understood why England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland all field seperate teams. Please escuse my ignorance, but I thought that the United Kingdom was a sovreign nation, and that the above mentioned “kingdoms” make up the UK. Its like saying that all 50 US states should field their own national teams. But I guess its because the Scots hate the English, and the Welsh and Northern Irish are terrible.


  • Kevin_Amold

    Having something like this underage prostitute scandal go on and on and the threat of jail and fine constantly living in the back of the mind of the accused has to be a rather uncomfortable existence.

    I guess that’s why I never patronize prostitutes.


  • matt

    I’m not familiar with the politics either, but my guess is that it is a historical accident. Since soccer was codified in the UK, each of the “kingdoms” may have had their own FA’s, which allowed the “national teams” to be grandfathered in to FIFA at a time when the members of the UK still had global authority over the game.

    This is sheer speculation on my part.


  • Ben

    It’s actually because they were all among the first organizations in international football. The Welsh FA, Scottish FA, English FA, all predate FIFA by many years, and they had played “international” events before FIFA existed. Hence, they were grandfathered into the FIFA structure due to thier historical significance.


  • Old School

    …and yet, the longer it goes on, the less liking anything will come of it.



  • slowleftarm

    They field separate teams in most sports. Actually, other than the Olympics I can’t think of a sport where there is a GB team although I’m sure there are ones I’m not aware of. I know they have a “British and Irish Lions” rugby union team that plays every few years but usually England, Scotland, Wales etc. have their own rugby union teams.

    Most people in Britain consider themselves English, Scottish, Welsh rather than “British” anyway.


  • xav234

    So Clint Dempsey is not leaving Fulham. any chance he leaves in the winter or on a free next season and gets picked up by a CL team?


  • SilverRey

    It sounds like things might be a little ugly at the moment for Demps. Is the FO/manager pissed at him for wanting to be traded up? All of this ‘go train on your own’ talk has me nervous for him if no trade comes through.


  • bottlcaps

    Maybe not weird, but definitely not under-age looking:

    I tend to give them the reasonable doubt about knowing her age.


  • dan

    VERY SELFISH football associations. At least let the women compete, this is ridiculous!


  • matt C in tampa

    It was a one-off for TGB to allow (and honor) Giggs to compete on a team that could actually have a chance of winning an international trophy.


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