PSG furious after Serge Aurier has visa revoked for crucial Arsenal match over conviction
Paris Saint-Germain have accused the UK authorities of attacking “the very integrity of the Champions League” after defender Serge Aurier had his visa suddenly revoked and cannot now play against Arsenal.
The French club arrived in London on Tuesday without their highly-rated Ivorian right-back as they prepare for Wednesday’s crucial tie at the Emirates which may decides who wins Group A.
“Due to a sudden about-face by the British authorities, Serge Aurier has not been allowed to travel with PSG squad for the clash away to Arsenal,” PSG said in a statement.
“After an initial application on October 18, complete with all the necessary documents, the British authorities had originally granted Paris Saint-Germain’s Côte d’Ivoire international an entry visa to the UK on October 21.
“However, on November 16, his visa was finally revoked by the British Ministry of the Interior, who justified their about-face by citing Aurier’s conviction on September 30, 2016.”
Aurier was sentenced to two months in jail for elbowing a police officer after being stopped to take a breath test. He was fined 600 euros and received a ‘convertible’ sentence which will probably result in community service rather than jail time.
The 23-year-old has been allowed to continue playing football and is appealing the conviction. PSG added:
“Paris Saint-Germain had, in all transparency, informed the British authorities of this conviction, as well as Aurier’s appeal against this decision (and the legal suspension of the ruling) from the outset.
“The club has argued several times that since the player has launched a legal appeal against the criminal ruling, he is therefore entitled to the presumption of innocence, as any other person exercising their right to appeal.
“Paris Saint-Germain strongly regrets that the presumption of innocence has not influenced Britain’s decision. On several occasions, Uefa has also transmitted its total support of Paris Saint-Germain to the British authorities regarding this case, in order to preserve the integrity of its competitions.
“The club also deplores that the final decision of the British authorities was only communicated at 14:00 CET on Tuesday, despite the club working for the last six days to find a solution to enable our player to travel with his teammates to London.
“In the face of this decision, albeit difficult to understand in respect to European law, Paris Saint-Germain, who had planned to travel to London with its strongest possible squad, invites its fans to be more united than ever, in support of their club.”