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Aminata Diallo arrested in relation to attack on PSG teammate Kheira Hamraoui

Aminata Diallo (Anne Sophie Lecouflet/Sports Press Photo)

Aminata Diallo was arrested by French police on Wednesday in relation to last week’s alleged attack on Kheira Hamraoui, who is Diallo’s teammate with Paris Saint-Germain. The two players have each represented France at the international level.

French outlet L’Equipe first reported that Diallo’s arrest was linked to the attack on Hamraoui. PSG confirmed in a team statement on Wednesday that Diallo was arrested “as part of the proceedings opened following an attack on the club’s players last Thursday evening.”

Per L’Equipe and later confirmed by French police reports, two masked men pulled Hamraoui from the passenger’s seat of a car being driven Diallo. The men beat Hamraoui with a metal bar, paying particular attention to her legs. Diallo was restrained but unharmed in the incident.

The New York Times on Wednesday described Hamraoui as “badly shaken and nursing cuts and bruises — but no broken bones.” Hamraoui missed PSG’s UEFA Champions League match against Real Madrid on Tuesday as a result. PSG won, 4-0 — with Diallo starting at center midfield in place of Hamraoui.

L’Equipe‘s report suggested that Diallo played a role in the attack as the two players battle for playing time in the squad. Hamraoui returned to PSG this season after winning the UEFA Champions League with FC Barcelona last season. Diallo returned to PSG, where she has played since 2016, after loan spells with the now defunct Utah Royals FC of the National Women’s Soccer League in 2020 and Atletico Madrid earlier in 2021.

Last season, PSG won the French domestic title for the first time, ending a run of 14 straight league titles for Lyon, most of which saw PSG finish second in the league by fine margins. Competition within the PSG squad has increased as a result, with the team hoping it is the first of many domestic titles and a path to the top of Europe. PSG has twice finished runners-up in the Champions League.

Per the Times, PSG players had been out to dinner with club officials in Paris last Thursday when Diallo offered Hamraoui a ride home. The two each live in the same upscale Paris suburb, about a 30-minute drive from where they were having dinner. As the car approached Hamraoui’s house around 10.30 p.m., the masked men appeared and carried out the alleged attack.

PSG will play one of its perennially important games on Sunday away against Lyon, a fixture which often decides the domestic title.

France’s soccer governing body has been under scrutiny for several years for an allegedly toxic workplace. Problems within the French women’s national team, including rows between top players and current head coach Corrine Diacre, have been well publicized.

The connotations of personal rivalry within the professional sporting setting in the Hamraoui attack draws parallels to the 1994 assault of figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, who was attacked after a practice at that year’s United States championship event. The attack was orchestrated by the ex-husband of a rival skater, Tonya Harding. Kerrigan had to withdraw from the competition, which Harding won, earning her a place on the Olympic team. Kerrigan recovered and made that Olympic team, too, and won the silver medal while Harding finished eighth.

Harding has long denied involvement in the attack, but did plead guilty to obstruction of justice. She was banned for life by the United States Figure Skating Association and stripped of her 1994 U.S. title.

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