A Brighton and Hove Albion player has been picked to play for his country in the Africa Cup of Nations despite being on conditional police bail.
Yves Bissouma, 25, has been recalled by Mali for the first time in three years for the tournament which starts in Cameroon next month.
Bissouma was bailed by Sussex Police in October after being arrested on suspicion of sexual assault at a seafront night club in Brighton.
He is understood to deny the claim – but it is not clear whether his bail conditions preclude him from travelling abroad.
He is due to answer bail on Wednesday 5 January – the day after a friend in his forties is due to answer bail in relation to the same incident in Arch night club.
Bissouma last played for his country in 2018 in a Nations Cup qualifier but was reported to have fallen out with the coach.
Two years ago the midfielder missed the Nations Cup finals in Egypt with a shoulder injury.
Albion were reported to have said yesterday (Monday 27 December) that the club had not been contacted directly about Bissouma’s international call up.
He was one of nine midfielders named in the 28-man squad by coach Mohamed Magassouba.
Mali are due to play Tunisia in their opening match in the delayed tournament on Wednesday 12 January.
The tournament starts in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, on Sunday 9 January 2022, with the final taking place there on Sunday 6 February.
Bissouma returns to contention for a place in the Brighton team to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge tomorrow (Wednesday 29 December) after a one-match suspension. The match is due to kick of at 7.30pm.