Who is the Premier League player Arrested ? A year since a Premier League footballer was arrested for rape: Why is decision taking so long? What now?

Who is the premier league player arrested ? It is less than seven weeks until the new Premier League season begins. It could be the second season running in which Player X, accused of rape by three separate women, represents his club while investigations continue and his identity is shielded by law.

Player X has not been charged and Tuesday, July 4, marks a year since he was first arrested.

But why is the whole process taking so long? What is the morally correct thing for the club to do in this situation? What is the legally sound decision?

These questions are becoming more pertinent with the cluster of rape and sexual assault allegations made against Premier League footballers in recent years. Six of the 20 clubs in the top flight have had to navigate similar terrain when one of their players has been questioned or charged in relation to alleged sexual offences.

But why is the whole process taking so long? What is the morally correct thing for the club to do in this situation? What is the legally sound decision?

These questions are becoming more pertinent with the cluster of rape and sexual assault allegations made against Premier League footballers in recent years. Six of the 20 clubs in the top flight have had to navigate similar terrain when one of their players has been questioned or charged in relation to alleged sexual offences.

Player X, who represented his country at the World Cup in Qatar last year, was subject to further interviews four months ago after a third woman alleged he raped her in February 2022, but his bail has since been extended for a fifth time and is due to expire next month.

Whether that is extended again or the police and Crown Prosecution Service drop or press charges remains to be seen, but as everyone involved waits for that decision, The Athletic answers the key questions around this case, and others…

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who is the premier league player arrested

Why does it take so long for a decision to be made?

“The delays in this case don’t surprise me,” says Stephen Halloran, a specialist criminal defence lawyer at Lawtons Solicitors with more than 25 years of experience.

“I have cases where we are waiting on charging decisions (that are) two years old. There is a huge backlog and they are trying to give priority to certain case types.

“They are trying to fast-track sexual offence cases when they get to court but there is a huge resource issue and that’s not just because of Covid, there were delays before we hit that.

“Realistically, they are not going to clear this backlog for five years. Whether you are the complainant or the accused, these cases are hanging over you for a long time.”

Halloran explains how gathering all the witness statements can be time-consuming in such sensitive cases, as can the recorded interviews with the complainant, which are required in sexual offence cases.

It is a special type of interview with trained officers who need to be sure their questions cannot be inferred as leading. This is the material they will aim to use as their evidence in chief if the case goes to court, so it has to be carefully handled to prevent the complainant from having to give evidence twice.

The police also investigate CCTV evidence and piece that together to create a timeline, while retrieving and sifting through mobile phone messages. This is why Halloran describes there being “in-built delays” in these investigations.

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If they have sufficient evidence, they will ask the accused to attend an interview. Once they have concluded their investigation, they summarise all the evidence, including which parts may not help their case, and present it to the CPS.

“I usually tell clients it’s at least three to six months for the CPS to make a decision and it may be that the police need to go away and do extra work,” says Halloran.

To reach a decision to charge a case, the CPS will consider whether enough evidence exists against the suspect to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and the second is whether it is in the public interest to prosecute.

Why has Player X not been suspended?

Nick De Marco KC is a leading sports lawyer who has acted in relation to players charged with rape, both for clubs and individuals.

He recently represented a footballer who was accused of rape and explains the club will, in nearly all cases, conduct an interview with the player before deciding whether he should be suspended or not. He likens the setup to an employee disciplinary meeting rather than a cross-examination, but in his experience, the club will then communicate their conclusions before informing the player and his lawyer of their decision.

“Should it be taken out of the hands of clubs by the authorities and an automatic suspension ordered? I think that’s difficult,” says De Marco.

“There is a presumption of innocence in England, but I can also understand certain allegations may be so serious that a club has to take action to protect its reputation by not playing the player. So how do those two things square up as, if they do that, the player could sue the club.

“However, the club may decide they’d rather be sued and pay out a load of money rather than take the reputational risk of sticking by the player for him to be charged and found guilty.

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“The easiest way out for a club is to continue to pay the player but just not play them. However, if you do that for a very long time they may run out of contract, or allow the player to leave under certain football rules, but in these sorts of cases the club may not mind.”

This is what happened to another Premier League player who, in July 2021, was put under investigation for alleged sexual activity with a girl under the age of 16. He was suspended on full pay and moved to a safe house as he waited to hear whether the allegations, which he denied, would result in charges being brought against him.

who is the premier league player arrested

What is the conviction rate for those charged?

The numbers make for stark reading. The Victims’ Commissioner’s annual report for 2021-2022, written by Dame Vera Baird DBE KC, reads: “For victims, reporting rape is effectively a lottery and the odds are rarely in your favour.”

In the year to December 2021, there were 67,125 rape offences recorded, an all-time high. Despite that, the number of completed rape prosecutions had fallen from 5,190 in 2016-17 to just 2,409 in 2020-21 and the number of convictions almost halved from 2,689 to 1,409 in that time.

The conviction rate has remained static at 61.8 per cent this year and Dame Baird, who resigned from her role last year after accusing the government of downgrading victims’ interests, tells The Athletic: “Don’t muddle the number of convictions with the conviction rate — which is the percentage of cases charged that produce a conviction — because the CPS get a high conviction rate by taking only cases they are sure to win.”

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