Hapoel Players Return Home After Questioning by Swedish Cops on Suspicion of Attempted Rape

Two members of the Hapoel Tel Aviv soccer team returned to Israel yesterday after being detained by police for questioning in Sweden in connection with a rape that was reported to police. The incident followed Hapoel Tel Aviv's match in Gothenburg against IFK Goteborg in the Europa League on Thursday.

Itay Shechter reportedly returned to the team's hotel with a woman he had met at a nightclub. Douglas Da Silva was Shechter's roommate at the hotel, and was said to have been in the room when an argument ensued with the woman. She was reportedly pushed out of the hotel room and, according to the hotel security director, she called the police from the hotel alleging that she was the victim of an attempted rape.

Shechter and Da Silva were detained at the local airport as the team prepared for their return flight to Israel. The other players team boarded their flight as planned, but team manager Mordi Dadon remained behind to deal with the case. Shechter and Da Silva were brought to a police station and questioned separately.

The police reportedly decided early on that Shechter was not implicated, and attention focused on Da Silva. After additional questioning of Da Silva, the hotel security director and the complainant, the police prosecutor decided to release the players, reportedly in the wake of contradictions in the woman's account. The prosecutor, Mats Eriksson, speaking at an improvised news conference, said he let the pair go because there was no evidence that justified keeping them in jail. He added that he would review the case on Monday and consider reopening the investigation if it was warranted.

It is thought that the fact that the accounts of the two players were reportedly consistent, made a positive impression on investigators. The hotel security director also appears to have supported the players' version of events. Both Eriksson and the Gothenburg police reportedly see the matter as closed. As a practical matter, the prosecutor reportedly accepted the incident as a dispute over fees with two prostitutes.