TERESÓPOLIS, Brazil (AFP) – The coach of the Brazilian national football team, Tite, said Monday he would “not judge” the sexual assault allegations leveled against his star player Neymar, which the Paris Saint-Germain forward says are an attempt to blackmail him.
“I understand the seriousness of the issue,” he said. “But there must be time for people to be able weigh the facts.”
“I’m not going to let myself judge the facts,” the coach said at the Brazilian squad’s training center outside Rio, where they are preparing for the upcoming Copa America tournament.
“The facts are not sufficiently clear. Only time will give us answers,” Tite said, fielding numerous questions about the accusations made over the weekend.
“The team is above all of that,” he added.
“In the three years I have been dealing with Neymar, all the personal issues we have dealt with have been fair and truthful,” he said.
“Neymar is an extraordinary player,” Tite said. “From a technical point of view, he is indispensible,’’ although he added that did not mean he was ‘’irreplaceable.”
The scandal erupted on Saturday when local media published accusations that a Brazilian woman had filed with the Sao Paulo police, accusing the 27-year-old football star Neymar of forcing her into a non-consensual sexual relationship after meeting her on Instagram and inviting her to visit him in a Paris hotel in May.
Sao Paulo police have confirmed that the accusations had been filed but said the details of the case were confidential.