Police Investigating Two Maccabi Tel Aviv Soccer Players Suspected of Underage Sex Offenses

Players suspected of having sexual relations with two 15-year-old girls, one of which gave testimony to police

Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner
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Maccabi Tel Aviv soccer players training, Tel Aviv, June 9, 2020
Maccabi Tel Aviv soccer players training, Tel Aviv, June 9, 2020Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner

Police interrogated one of two Maccabi Tel Aviv soccer players suspected of having sex with minors on Sunday.

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Earlier in the day, they took testimony from one of the 15-year-old girls who said she had sex with the players. The other girl involed, who is represented by Attorney Sasi Gez, was also supposed to speak with police on Sunday, but told investigators she didn’t feel well, and someone who knows her said she’s in very bad emotional shape.

“Ultimately, she’s a 15-year-old girl who’s being subjected to terrible online shaming, including curses, invective and threats,” he said. “She feels the two soccer players exploited her. No 15-year-old girl would be willing to sleep with two men within half an hour. She was drawn to that Tel Aviv apartment by stardust and they ground her into dirt.”

She is getting help from the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel, he added.

People close to the two players said last week that the men met the girls two weeks ago at a birthday party for another soccer player in Be’er Sheva and exchanged phone numbers with them. About a week later, they said, the girls contacted them and came to the Tel Aviv home of one of the men, where they had sex.

The players’ friends said the men have proof that both girls claimed to be 17. But the man who knows one of the girls denied that claim.

“It’s impossible to mistake her age,” he said. “Anyone who looks at her would realize that she’s a girl no older than 15.”

On Saturday night, Channel 12 news reported that one of the girls denied she and her friend had lied about their ages. “We never said we were 18, and we weren’t asked how old we were,” the reported quoted her as saying. “We did talk about school, and the soccer players knew we were high school students.”

Maccabi Tel Aviv put the players on leave over the weekend. It urged people to wait patiently for the outcome of the investigation, but condemned any inappropriate behavior by team members.

“The allegations in this case are grave and have implications for everyone involved,” the club said in a statement. “Following the media reports of the past week, we focused on gathering information and complying with the rules of the relevant agencies investigating the matter. With all the difficulty this entails, we think that at this stage, it’s important to wait patiently and enable the proceedings to be concluded without hindrance.”

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