Mid-Day Ticker: Sex scandal rocks French team; Pompey denied Europe and more

Mid-Day Ticker: Sex scandal rocks French team; Pompey denied Europe and more

European Soccer

Mid-Day Ticker: Sex scandal rocks French team; Pompey denied Europe and more

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BenzemaRiberyReuters

By AVI CREDITOR

The red card he received in Wednesday's UEFA Champions League semifinal against Lyon is the least worrisome of Franck Ribery's current problems.

The Bayern Munich and French midfielder is at the center of an underage-prostitution scandal that also involves international teammate Karim Benzema, and the two are in jeopardy of being left out of Raymond Domenech's squad for this summer's World Cup, according to the Associated Press.

Ribery has already been questioned and Benzema will be questioned about alleged encounters with an underage prostitute. No charges have been filed yet, but the prostitute, Zahia Dehar, testified that she had sexual relations with both players before she was 18 despite telling them otherwise. Prostitution is legal in France, but only if the prostitute is 18 or older.

French players Sidney Govou and Hatem Ben Afra are also being subjected to inquiries about the events.

If charged and convicted, the players could face up to three years in prison.

In other soccer news this Thursday:

PORTSMOUTH DENIED EUROPA LEAGUE SPOT

Despite reaching the FA Cup final, which would have been good enough to qualify the team for a spot in next year's Europa League, Portsmouth will miss out on European competition because of its financial situation.

The club did not file an application for a UEFA club license on time, and the Football Association and Premier League have ruled that they won't accept a late application. Portsmouth would have had to prove that it was in stable financial standing by the end of next month to meet UEFA's guidelines, according to the Associated Press.

The Premier League's seventh-place finisher will be guaranteed a spot in European competition. Liverpool is currently in seventh, five points clear of Everton with three matches to play.

HONDURAS FALLS TO VENEZUELA

Playing at home with the likes of Carlos Pavon and Amado Guevara in its lineup, Honduras fell to unheralded Venezuela 1-0 in an international friendly Wednesday night. Francisco Flores scored the goal for the visitors. For video highlights (choppy and not in English, but highlights nonetheless):

Making matters worse for Honduras, David Suazo is now doubtful for the World Cup with a leg injury.

WIGAN'S N'ZOGBIA ARRESTED

Wigan Athletic midfielder Charles N'Zogbia, who scored the game-winning goal in the Latics' 3-2 comeback victory over Arsenal last week, was arrested Wednesday for allegedly paying somebody else to take the written part of his driver's test.

He was arrested when he arrived to take the driving part of the exam, and he faces jail time if charged and convicted of fraud.

N'Zogbia has five goals and seven assists for Wigan this season.

RONALDO VOUCHES FOR PELLEGRINI

Though there might be several in the Real Madrid camp that would like to see a change on the team's sidelines, Cristiano Ronaldo is not one of them.

The star midfielder came to the defense of the current Madrid coach, saying that he hopes Pellegrini returns to the bench next season.

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Troubled by the French scandal? Do you think France has any shot to get past the group stage without (potentially) Ribery and Benzema? How do you feel about Portsmouth being denied a chance at Europe in spite of its awful season? Are you liking Honduras' chances to get out of Group H? Who do you think should be Real Madrid's coach?

Share your thoughts below.

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