Police mulling investigation into soccer player sex abuse video

Police mulling investigation into soccer player sex abuse video

Clip from several years ago now widely shared on WhatsApp shows Beitar FC soccer striker Antony Varenne and others apparently assaulting, humiliating woman

Beitar striker Antony Varenne. (YouTube screenshot)
Beitar striker Antony Varenne. (YouTube screenshot)

Police are considering opening an investigation into several soccer players after a sexual abuse video went viral on the WhatsApp social network in the early hours of Thursday.

Later, Hebrew media revealed that the premier league Beitar club striker Antony Varenne was one of four men seen apparently committing indecent acts on a woman who appeared to have passed out, while singing, laughing and humiliating her.

A statement from the Israel Football Association said it had decided, after checking with lawyers, not to summon Varenne for a disciplinary hearing. “We expect soccer players, and everyone else, to behave properly and with respect,” the statement said.

But according to Israel Radio, police are to look into the video, which was filmed some years ago, before Varenne played for Beitar.

Varenne, who is French-Israeli, said, “I screwed up. It happened once and will never happen again. I’ll have to live with the shame all my life. Whoever knows me knows it’s not what I’m like,” Hadashot news reported.

According to the Walla news site, Varenne told friends people had already tried to blackmail him in connection with the clip, and that he feared there may be more footage.

Benny Ben Zaken, manager of Jerusalem’s premier league Beitar soccer club. (YouTube screenshot)

Beitar manager Benny Ben Zaken said he expected Varenne to play Saturday in a match against Maccabi Netanya, as planned.

Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev said she was shocked to hear about the film. “There’s no place for such contemptible behavior towards women,” she said.

Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev seen with fans before the start of the match between Beitar Jerusalem and Bnei Sakhnin F.C., at the Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem on January 22, 2018. (Roy Alima/Flash90)

Michal Rozin of the Meretz Party posted on Facebook that it was “not enough” for Regev t express her shock and said the Football Association needed to take stronger action.

“Even worse, the team didn’t voice any proper condemnation, but announced that he [Varenne] will play on Saturday. So let’s help them with their dithering. The proper thing to do is to sack Varenne while publicly condemning this deviant act. Anything else gives a green light to violence against women,” she said.

MK Michal Rozin attends a Constitution, Law, and Justice, Committee meeting in the Knesset, July 25, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
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