Soccer Stars From Tel Aviv Club Questioned Over Claims of Sex With Minor Girls

Police opens investigation into players following media reports ■ Players argue they can prove the victims, both 15, said they were 17

Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner
A player for Maccabi Tel Aviv, with yellow socks, during an Israeli league soccer match.
A player for Maccabi Tel Aviv, with yellow socks, during an Israeli league soccer match.Credit: Nir Keidar
Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner

The police confirmed Thursday that they are investigating two soccer players from Maccabi Tel Aviv over claims that they had sex with two 15-year-old girls.

Channel 13 News reported Wednesday that the Maccabi Tel Aviv soccer club received a complaint that two players had recently engaged in sexual activity with the two girls.

Sources close to the players said the men met the girls about two weeks ago at a birthday party held in Be’er Sheva for a different soccer player, where they exchanged telephone numbers.

About a week later the girls called the players and came to the Tel Aviv home of one of them, where they had sex.

The sources told Haaretz that the players have proof the girls told them they were 17 years old. The players’ lawyers said the two did not commit any crime as they have unequivocal evidence to prove their story, which they will present to police in due time.

Maccabi Tel Aviv said, “The club is aware of the reports in the media and is following the developments.”

Last month, over two years after the investigation of another sex scandal involving Israeli soccer players began, the state prosecutor for the Central District Prosecutor filed an indictment against player Bar Mizrahi. But he was charged only for infringing on a woman’s privacy after posting a clip of himself and three other soccer players performing sexual acts on an unresponsive woman.

In March 2018 police opened the probe following the emergence of the clip showing Beitar Jerusalem forward Anthony Varenne, Mizrahi of Hapoel Mahane Yehuda, and two other players from the lower leagues performing sexual acts on a woman who wasn’t responding.

Beitar Jerusalem refused to suspend Varenne during the investigation, despite the demand of a number of female Knesset members.

The four were interrogated on suspicion of sexual assault and of sexual harrassment by posting the clip online without the victim’s consent, and in a way that could humiliate and degrade her.

Mizrahi, who shot the video, was questioned on suspicion of sexual assault, but ultimately indicted on a much lesser charge.

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