Former Barcelona and Brazil defender Dani Alves has been formally indicted by a judge in a sexual assault case in Spain.
The judge told a Barcelona court on Wednesday that she had found evidence of wrongdoing by the 40-year-old player.
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Alves has denied the allegation that he sexually assaulted a woman in a Barcelona nightclub in December. He says he had consensual sex with his accuser.
Alves was arrested on January 20 and has been held in a prison outside Barcelona without bail. If found guilty, he could face a prison sentence of four to 15 years.
“Dani Alves is upset with the narrative of the facts … he disagrees with it,” Alves’s lawyer Cristobal Martell told reporters minutes after his client appeared before the Barcelona court.
“He has also said that he will not appeal due to his desire to expedite the judicial process,” Martell added.
The prosecution must now submit formal charges to the court, while the defence will present its allegations in writing. After that, a date for the start of a trial will be set for later this year or early in 2024.
Alves is expected to remain in jail awaiting the trial. His bail requests have been denied because he is considered a flight risk. The player has offered to turn in his passports and wear a tracking device.
A judge ordered Alves to be jailed after analysing the initial probe by authorities and hearing testimony from the alleged victim, witnesses, and Alves.
Alves’s lawyers unsuccessfully tried to discredit testimony by the alleged victim and other witnesses by presenting security camera footage showing that Alves and the victim were flirting with each other at the nightclub.
The court had said that the flirting should not “in any way justify an eventual sexual assault”.
Under Spain’s sexual consent law passed last year, sexual assault takes in a wide array of crimes from online abuse and groping to rape, each with different possible punishments.
Alves won 42 football titles, including three Champions Leagues with Barcelona and two Copas Americas with Brazil. He played in his third World Cup last year in Qatar.