AFP is reporting French soccer stars Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery will face trial for allegedly soliciting then underage prostitute Zahia Dehar in 2008 and 2009 respectively. The scandal broke in 2010. French prosecutors had called for charges to be dropped last November, with both parties confirming the players did not know the prostitute was underage. They are two of eight people to stand trial involved with the case. Some will be charged with “aggravated pimping.”
This move comes in the midst of a broader crackdown on prostitution in France. Prostitution is still legal, though politicians on both the left and the right have sought harsher penalties on the activity surrounding it, such as solicitation.
It is not clear whether the charges will stick. Players face up to three years in prison and a $55,000 fine. It is, at the very least, an unwelcome distraction for new French coach Didier Deschamps as he tries to reformat Les Bleus ahead of the 2014 World Cup.
Side Note: Ms. Dehar, now 20, has apparently become a fashion mogul.
[Photos via Getty]