Serge Aurier banned to travel to Lon­don for Cham­pi­ons League game

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Paris Saint-Ger­main de­fender Serge Aurier will miss Wed­nes­day's Cham­pi­ons League match at Arse­nal af­ter be­ing banned from trav­el­ing to Lon­don by Bri­tish au­thor­i­ties.

The French club said in a state­ment it is "stunned" by a de­ci­sion that "at­tacks the very in­tegrity of the UEFA Cham­pi­ons League," while UEFA ex­pressed "its deep dis­ap­point­ment."

Ac­cord­ing to PSG, Aurier's visa has been re­voked by the Bri­tish Home Of­fice be­cause the Ivory Coast player was sen­tenced to two months in prison in Septem­ber for as­sault­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer. Aurier has ap­pealed the ver­dict and was al­lowed to re­main free.

The match at Emirates Sta­dium is of cru­cial im­por­tance for both clubs, with the win­ner guar­an­teed first place in Group A and likely avoid­ing tougher op­po­si­tion in the knock­out phase.

"It is re­gret­table that a player el­i­gi­ble for the com­pe­ti­tion will not be able to take part in the match for rea­sons which are not re­lated to football and its reg­u­la­tions," UEFA said in a state­ment.

Aurier was ar­rested near the Champs-El­y­sees in Paris in May fol­low­ing an ar­gu­ment with po­lice af­ter a night out. He de­nied hit­ting an of­fi­cer but was charged with vol­un­tary vi­o­lence on a per­son in public author­ity. PSG said the ap­peal meant Aurier is "en­ti­tled to the pre­sump­tion of in­no­cence" and should have been en­ti­tled to travel.

"Paris Saint-Ger­main strongly re­grets that the pre­sump­tion of in­no­cence has not in­flu­enced Bri­tain's de­ci­sion," PSG said. "On sev­eral oc­ca­sions, UEFA has also trans­mit­ted its to­tal sup­port of Paris Saint-Ger­main to the Bri­tish au­thor­i­ties re­gard­ing this case, in or­der to pre­serve the in­tegrity of its com­pe­ti­tions."

PSG also crit­i­cized Bri­tish au­thor­i­ties for in­form­ing the club at a late no­tice on Tues­day, "de­spite the club work­ing for the last six days to find a so­lu­tion to en­able our player to travel with his team­mates to Lon­don."

Widely re­garded as one of the best right backs in Europe, Aurier is a key player at PSG. But he has also been mak­ing head­lines for the wrong rea­sons in re­cent months. He was sus­pended for six weeks in Fe­bru­ary af­ter a video emerged on so­cial me­dia show­ing him mak­ing deroga­tory com­ments about then-PSG coach Lau­rent Blanc, striker Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic and other play­ers.

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