Bissouma can play in Africa Cup after police release him ‘under investigation’

Posted On 04 Jan 2022 at 3:53 pm

Brighton and Hove Albion footballer Yves Bissouma can travel to West Africa to play in a month-long international tournament after Sussex Police released him “under investigation”.

Bissouma, 25, and a man in his forties were arrested on suspicion of sexual assault at Arch, a seafront night club in Brighton, in October.

The midfielder was due to answer bail tomorrow (Wednesday 5 January) while the other man was due to answer bail today.

Sussex Police said: “A man in his forties from Brighton who was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault has had his conditional bail extended until Thursday 27 January.

“A man in his twenties, also from Brighton, who was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault has been released under investigation while inquiries continue.

“He is not subject to any travel restrictions.”

The move means that Bissouma can play for Mali in the Africa Cup of Nations after his first international call up for three years last week.

The tournament starts in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, on Sunday (9 January), with the final taking place there on Sunday 6 February.

Mali are due to play Tunisia in their opening match in the delayed tournament on Wednesday 12 January.

Bissouma, who was born in Ivory Coast, 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 Brighton player missed the Nations Cup finals in Egypt and the chance to add to his 18 caps because he was suffering from an injured shoulder.

But last week he was one of nine midfielders named in the 28-man squad by coach Mohamed Magassouba.

In October, after the arrests, Sussex Police said: “Two men have been arrested after a woman reported being sexually assaulted at a venue in Brighton in the early hours of Wednesday 6 October.

“A man in his forties and a man in his twenties, both from Brighton, were arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and have been released on conditional bail … while inquiries continue.

“The victim is receiving specialist support from officers.”

Yves Bissouma

The football club said after Bissouma’s arrest: “Brighton and Hove Albion are aware that one of its players is assisting police with the investigation of an alleged offence.

“The matter is subject to a legal process and the club is therefore unable to make further comment at this time.”

Albion boss Graham Potter said that the Africa Cup of Nations was an “important tournament” and that Yves Bissouma had the club’s blessing to play in it.

Potter, who once worked as the technical director for the Ghana women’s team, said: “He’s due to go, so he goes with, of course, our blessing and I hope he does well and good luck to them (Mali).

“Playing for your country is a fantastic thing and we support our players in that.

“We wish him well because it’s an important tournament. It’s an important occasion for him and his family.”

  1. Clayton Reply

    While the maxim of innocent until proven guilty is important is it really a sensible idea to allow someone accused of such a serious crime leave to exit the country when it’s going to be at least a month before anyone asks”where is he?”

    I note that there’s no extradition treaty in place between the UK and Mali IF he was to decide not to return.

  2. Jack Reply

    Sell him, lol

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