Ribery and Benzema to face trial over ‘underage prostitution’ allegations

London: French football stars Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema are set to be tried over allegations that they solicited an underage prostitute.

The pair, who are due to play for France against Uruguay this week, and were put under investigation two years ago, have denied the accusations, while the girl involved, Zahia Dehar, said that neither of the player knew she was 16 at the time.

According to the BBC, under French law, paid sex with someone under the age of 18 can prompt a punishment of three years in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros, but the accused has to be aware of the minor``s age.

The Zahia affair, as it became known, emerged two years ago as police investigated claims that a Paris nightclub had given access to underage prostitutes, but the allegations on the players date back to 2008 and 2009, the report said.

While Benzema’s lawyer said his client was innocent "and he will give his explanation before the tribunal", France’s coach Didier Deschamps said the matter was in judicial hands and did not affect their role on the football pitch or in the national team.