“Benoît is free, accused of nothing at all”, coach Guillaume Gille reacts to Kounkoud’s return to the Blues

“Benoît is free, accused of nothing at all”, coach Guillaume Gille reacts to Kounkoud’s return to the Blues

The right winger will play in the blue jersey despite the controversy. dpa – Federico Gambarini

The coach of the French handball team Guillaume Gille, who summoned right winger Benoît Kounkoud for two upcoming friendly matches, said Tuesday that it was “important to testify" his "support" to the player accused of attempted rape which he strongly contests.

"For me, it's important to show him my support at this time: I am the first to wait for justice to take its course work and that we have all the clarity on this affair but until proven otherwise Benoît is free, accused of nothing at all", affirmed Gille during from a press point in Créteil before the Blues' matches in Montpellier against Argentina on Thursday and Egypt on Saturday.

Also read: The Blues deprived of four senior players for the two matches in Montpellier, Fabregas promoted to captain

"It's pleasant to find Benoît because he has gone through and is still going through a very complicated moment, and we are also going through it with him. Finding ourselves associated with such accusations takes us a long way from what we represent and it is not like us, added the coach. Kounkoud is accused by a 20-year-old woman of having tried to rape her in a Parisian nightclub less than 48 hours after the Blues' Euro title, on January 28 in Cologne (Germany) .

"All the people who lived through the Euro have to be there"

Placed in police custody on January 30, he was released the next day and "strongly contests" the accusations "seriously false"brought against him, according to his lawyer, Me Mario Stasi. Suspended by his Polish club Kielce on February 2, he returned to the field in his colors on February 29.

"Everyone can blame me for choosing so-and-so, that's always the case: my job is a job where I make choices, I must position myself", again estimated Gille, for whom "the French team does not& #39;is not intended to do justice".

"All the people who experienced the Euro have to be there (…) to be together, to meet again, to debrief this campaign enough incredible and look ahead to the sequel which is coming very quickly. This also guided my choice to put him on this list", continued Gille.

Also read: "Despite January's result, history remains to be written" : Trophy of the continents, Olympic Games, Guillaume Gille plans

The coach had summoned all 23 players who prepared for the Euro for this first gathering since the title in Germany. The list was reduced to 20 players on Tuesday, after the injury withdrawals of Luka Karabatic (left thigh), Nikola Karabatic (neck), Samir Bellahcene (muscle injury) and Nicolas Tournat (left ankle). The Nantes pivot Théo Monar was called to compensate for the absence of Tournat.

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