A Spanish judge has decided to indict former FC Barcelona footballer Dani Alves following an investigation into sexual assault accusations against, a court said on Monday.
The judge concluded the investigation and found evidence of alleged wrongdoing by the Brazilian Alves, who has been in custody since January on accusations he sexually assaulted a woman at a nightclub in Barcelona on 30 December last year.
Alves will be formally indicted after being informed of the judge’s decision in court on Wednesday. Prosecutors will then specify the charges, and a trial date will be set for later this year or early in 2024.
The former Barcelona defender has denied wrongdoing and said that sex with the accuser was consensual.
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 had 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’ 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. A case of rape can carry a maximum sentence of 15 years.
The 40-year-old Alves won 42 football titles, including three Champions Leagues with FC Barcelona and two Copa Americas with Brazil. He played in his third World Cup last year in Qatar. He also played for Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and the Mexican side Pumas UNAM.