The police in France arrested a member of the Paris St.-Germain women’s soccer team on Wednesday as part of an investigation into an attack on one of her teammates, who was pulled from a car last week and struck in the legs by masked men wielding metal bars.
The club confirmed that the player who was arrested, midfielder Aminata Diallo, was taken into custody as part of the investigation of an attack on its players last Thursday. P.S.G., which secured its first championship this year, did not provide further details of the incident, or name the players who had been attacked.
Diallo, 26, was taken into custody on Wednesday morning, one day after she replaced her injured teammate Kheira Hamraoui in P.S.G.’s midfield for its Champions League game against Real Madrid. Hamraoui, a 31-year-old signed from Barcelona before this season, did not play in the game; she is recovering from injuries to both her legs and her hands sustained in the attack, which took place after a team dinner.
Hamraoui had accepted a ride home from Diallo after the meal. As they were driving, the car was stopped by two men, according to a person familiar with the situation, who confirmed details first published by the sports newspaper L’Equipe. The women were pulled out of the vehicle, the person said, and while Diallo was held by one of the assailants, Hamraoui was assaulted.
“Paris St.-Germain is working with the Versailles police to clarify the facts,” the team said in a statement. “The club is paying close attention to the progress of the proceedings and will study what action to take.”
The incident and the accusations immediately evoked memories of the 1994 assault on the figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, who was attacked at that year’s United States championships in a plot orchestrated by the ex-husband of a rival skater, Tonya Harding. Kerrigan was assaulted after a practice session by a man who hit her repeatedly in the legs with a police baton.
After Kerrigan was forced to withdraw from the championships because of her injuries, Harding won the competition to claim a place on the 1994 U.S. Olympic team. Kerrigan was later named to the team despite failing to qualify, and several weeks later won the silver medal at the Lillehammer Games. Harding, who has long denied being involved in the attack but pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution, finished eighth.
P.S.G. said Wednesday that it had provided its players with added security in the days after the attack, an extra layer of protection that it regularly arranges for its well-known men’s players. Several P.S.G. players have in recent years had their homes robbed — sometimes while family members were inside — while they were away playing matches.
Last Thursday’s assault left Hamraoui badly shaken and nursing cuts and heavy bruises but with no broken bones in her legs.
“Since Thursday evening the club has taken all necessary measures to guarantee the health, well-being and safety of its entire women’s team,” the P.S.G. statement added.
Competition for places at the French champion has increased after the women’s team finally ended the dominance of its league and continental rival Lyon by winning its first French title last season. P.S.G. had finished second to Lyon eight times in the previous 10 years.
Signing Hamraoui, 31, from the European champion Barcelona for a second stint with P.S.G. was part of the club’s efforts to strengthen its position amid its ongoing domestic rivalry with Lyon. The two clubs are locked at the top of the French league, each having won all seven of the games they have played this season.
Diallo had returned from a loan to Atlético Madrid, and has effectively been used as Hamraoui’s understudy. A former France international, Hamraoui represented her country at the 2015 Women’s World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics.