first team / OL - Le Havre

John Mensah's lawyer speaks out

Published on the 17 February 2009 à 14:59 by SC

"He is not doing well but the club are behind him and his team-mates are supportive so I think everyone has realised how serious this issue is" underlines M. Jakubowicz this morning.

John Mensah arrived this morning accompanied by his lawyer, M. Alain Jakubowicz, at the Olympique Lyonnais headquarters. John Mensah bereft of a smile, still marked by the racist slurs that he was subjected to on Sunday, was escorted through to the clubs offices. After a long meeting with the administrative director he left still shrouded in sadness. His lawyer did however stop and speak to us at length about John and the affair.
« John is not in a good way. Because he is such a solid big guy, people don’t realise how much he is suffering, but in the inside he has been knocked for six. John even thought about leaving Lyon, leaving France, returning to Ghana and ending his career. It is difficult to imagine how much that this young man’s life has been shaken up. He is not doing well but the club are behind him and his team-mates are supportive and I think everyone has realised how serious this issue is. »

Maître Jakubowicz then went on to speak about the incidents which took place during the match against Le Havre.
« John Mensah obviously didn’t see or hear everything that went on, but it hurt him to the core. That is what is important, more than the monkey chants, these things are unacceptable, let’s be clear about that, and are the work of a small minority. That brings up yet another question: how can one individual, pretty much alone in a full stand destabilize a player. John was subjected to this with unprecedented violence. »

The interview continued regarding the supporter who was arrested. What does he risk? « First of all, in France racism is not an opinion it is a criminal offence since 1972. Sport in general, and more particularly football, has given itself the means of repression and combat of racism. This young man will be interviewed under caution by a judge during the course of the day. There will be an investigation, there will be a trial. He will be found guilty as he has admitted the charges held against him. Obviously, at the moment, he is considered innocent. What is important is not sending this guy to prison but to make everyone aware of the phenomenon of racism that surrounds football and to ban him from visiting the stadium for a long period of time. He has to understand and especially those people around him must understand that this tye of behaviour is unacceptable in the stadia and on the pitches of football grounds. »
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