FC Thun player accused of having sex with a minor suspended

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The player was suspended after the club learned that he was questioned before a judge on Thursday.

21 April 2008

THUN - Swiss club FC Thun has suspended one of its players accused of having sexual relations with a minor.

The club did not name the player in a statement issued Friday, but Swiss tabloid Blick identified him by the initials "O.F." and said he was a Senegalese national. The club could not be reached for comment on the report.

Thun said it suspended the player after learning that he was questioned before a judge Thursday as a defendant in the case that caused an uproar in Switzerland when arrests were made in 2007.

In November 2007, authorities arrested 21 men suspected of having sexual relations with a 15-year-old girl. The age of consent in Switzerland is 16.

"The player assured FC Thun that he has nothing to do with the story," the club said in a statement.

"However, since he was questioned as an accused person and not as a witness, the club's management decided to suspend the player from the current training and match schedule with immediate effect."

Thun said it didn't know until Thursday that the player was among the accused because it hadn't been informed by judicial authorities. Four other players were already suspended by the club.

The court adjourned the case Thursday against the player to allow for further evidence to be brought forward before a main hearing takes place at a later date.

Of the nine current or former Thun players charged by authorities, one has already been fined for kissing the minor. Seven others are due to appear in court in May.

It is illegal under Swiss law to have sex with a minor under 16 if the age difference is greater than three years. The maximum penalty for sex with a minor is five years in prison.

The girl, who has since turned 16, was a member of Thun's fan club.

In 2005, Thun became the smallest team to ever advance to the group stage of the Champions League, with an annual budget smaller than the individual salaries of many top European players.

[AP / Expatica]

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