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Sale statement on 'allegation and arrest' of one of their players

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

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Sale have issued a statement on the allegation that one of its players was arrested by police in England last Sunday on the suspicion of raping a teenager the day before. The Sharks initially referenced this ‘unnamed England player story’ at the start of their Alex Sanderson media briefing on Wednesday afternoon. 

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They explained they were aware of the speculation surrounding them but because it was a legal matter, they would not be taking any questions on the matter. They eventually issued a media statement following the Sanderson briefing. 

It read: “Sale Sharks have been made aware of an allegation against one of its players and the subsequent arrest of that player by Greater Manchester Police on Sunday, January 9, 2022.

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“The player in question has been suspended by Sale Sharks until further notice and is currently cooperating with police officers to assist in their investigation. As this matter is subject to a legal process there will be no further comment at this time.”

It was Tuesday evening when the story first broke that an England rugby player had been arrested. A police spokesperson said at that time: “Officers were called shortly before 11am on Sunday, January 9, to a report of a sexual assault on a female. A woman in her late teens was reported to have been sexually assaulted.

A man was arrested on suspicion of rape and a woman was arrested on suspicion of administering a substance with intent to cause a sexual offence. Both have since been released on bail as enquiries continue and a number of lines of enquiry are being followed up by detectives.”

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Not naming the player involved in the matter had an unfortunate consequence for Bath’s Danny Cipriani and his wife as they found themselves doorstepped on Wednesday by the media and it led to Victoria Cipriani taking to social media to ask that they be left alone.

A load of journalists have turned up outside my home this morning, causing me great alarm and distress, apparently guessing (wrongly) that the story already in some parts of the press about a rugby player and his partner being arrested on suspicion of sexual offences might relate to Danny and myself,” she wrote.

“I presume they are making that wild guess because I am the same age as the woman is reported to be in the stories about that case. That is completely unwarranted and wholly unacceptable. Neither Danny nor myself have been arrested, nor do we have anything to do with the reported case, whatsoever. We do not know anything about it.

“The press have come to the wrong people and I would ask that they please leave us alone, immediately. This is hugely upsetting for so many reasons. Please share and thanks for taking note of this.”

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