There were some big moves in the women’s transfer window but perhaps the most shocking was Aminata Diallo’s transfer to Spanish top-flight club Levante.
In September, the former Paris Saint-Germain player was arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy in relation to the attack on her then-team-mate Kheira Hamraoui who was beaten with an iron bar in November 2021. Diallo has denied any wrongdoing.
Diallo was detained at the Versailles women’s prison for five days before being released under judicial supervision, similar to conditional bail. She had to stay at her father’s home in Grenoble, 300 miles (480km) south of Paris, and was not allowed to leave the country or enter the Ile-de-France region, which includes Paris, nor was she permitted to contact anyone involved in the case or members of the PSG team.
But that did not stop the French midfielder signing a six-month contract at Levante with an option to extend for another 12 months.
💙❤️ Aminata Diallo, fichaje para el Levante UD Femenino en el mercado de invierno
— Levante UD Femenino (@LUDfemenino) January 2, 2023
Diallo’s PSG contract expired last summer, after the alleged assault but before she was charged.
“Up until July 18, I was led to believe PSG was well on the way to extending my contract, that’s what I was told,” Diallo said in an interview with L’Equipe.
“On July 20, I finally learned that I wouldn’t be extending my contract. I was disgusted. Not because I wasn’t being extended, but because it was done at the last minute. PSG can say what they want in the press.”
Diallo stopped playing at that time.
“I needed a break, mentally it was a difficult year,” she said.
However, Diallo decided she wanted to continue her footballing career. According to one of her three lawyers, Romain Ruiz, she had offers from teams in England, France, Spain and Italy, though he would not name any of the interested teams. She ultimately chose Levante, who had initially approached her in the summer.
Diallo’s decision was based on Levante’s competitive sporting project — they are second in Liga F, seven points adrift of leaders Barcelona — and the fact that she had worked with the coach Jose Luis Sanchez Vera during her loan spell at Atletico Madrid in 2021.
The judge in charge of the criminal case accepted Diallo’s lawyers’ request to allow her to work in Spain and modified the bail conditions.
“The ban on leaving French territory was lifted in order to allow her to be hired by various football clubs abroad,” a spokesperson for the public prosecutor told The Athletic. “(This is) subject to her proving her commitment and subject to contractual stipulations prohibiting her from taking part in any match with Paris-Saint Germain or in any match with any club in which Ms Hamraoui may be required to play.”
PSG are aware of these conditions and they are written in Diallo’s Levante contract.
Ruiz, who looks after Diallo’s criminal case as well as the sporting side alongside Mourad Battikh and Chloe Redon, tells The Athletic: “She has all the rights of a football player.
“She can travel with and without the club. She can go on holiday. She is living a normal life, apart from the fact that she cannot contact those involved in the case, Ms Hamraoui and PSG. For the rest, she is free to do what she wants.”
Diallo can travel in France but is still forbidden from visiting PSG or entering the French capital, unless she is seeing her lawyers or the judge.
If she is summoned for trial, Levante would let her attend, although Diallo’s lawyers could not reveal if she would remain on full pay. According to her lawyers, it is unlikely Diallo will be called to trial this year and they are hopeful the criminal case will be closed in 2024.
“For years, I made too many calculations, I got into my head, I wanted this and that,” Diallo said. “Life and football go very fast, and that’s the lesson I’ve learned from all of this. I don’t get worked up. I’ve rediscovered the pleasure of loving football, I had lost it. We’ll see what happens.”
In France, a criminal case may take on average between 18 months and two years to be completed but it can take longer. For the time being, this investigation is still ongoing.
(Top photo: Maddie Meyer via Getty Images)
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