Toronto police: Chelsea's Lucas Piazon 'wanted for sexual assault'
Toronto police on Thursday said they have issued a warrant for the arrest of Brazilian player Lucas Piazon, a Chelsea forward on loan at Reading, in connection with an alleged sexual assault.
A warrant has been issued for the arrest of the 21-year-old and his Brazil under-22 teammate Andrey following an incident which allegedly took place during the Pan-Am Games in July.
Without making further comment, a Chelsea spokesman said: "We are aware of the reports."
Reading are also aware of the reports after Toronto Police issued a media release on Thursday but referred enquiries to his parent club.
"The Toronto Police Service is alerting the public to a sexual assault investigation," the release read. "It is alleged that: on Saturday, July 25, 2015, a 21-year-old woman, along with a friend, met two men in a nightclub in Toronto.
"The two men accompanied the women to one woman's residence. Once inside the residence, the two men sexually assaulted one of the women.
"The two men have now been identified, and arrest warrants have been issued for Lucas Domingues Piazon, 21, and Andrey Da Silva Ventura, 22. They are both wanted for: 1. Sexual Assault.
"Both men are from Brazil. They were in Canada as participants in the 2015 Pan-Am Games as members of the Brazilian Pan-American football (soccer) team."
THE BEST OF ESPN FC
- Bell: Liverpool fans make themselves heard
- Cox: Leicester improving | Why Poch should stay
- Okwonga: Man United's market | City's title hopes
- Laurens: PSG's pre-UCL issues | Hertha's curse
- Highlights (U.S. only): Stuttgart 1-3 BVB
- FC TV: Champions League W2W4 | LVG wrong
- News | Transfer | Toe Poke | Fantasy | FC TV | Podcast | MLS
The alleged incident happened on the same day Brazil clinched the bronze medal in the tournament, with Piazon scoring in a 3-1 win over Panama.
Piazon's father, Antonio Carlos Piazon, defended his son's actions and questioned the length of time it took to issue a warrant.
"This is crazy. Something is wrong. We never got any warrants and the Pan Am happened a while ago," the elder Piazon told ESPN Brasil. "I think he didn't even go out in Toronto, he just stayed with the team. That's one heck of a mistake. This shouldn't be published three months after the incident.
"Lucas will talk at the right moment, but there isn't a possibility that this may have occurred. He has a clean record. We will take the necessary actions. If we have to put our lawyers into it, we'll do that. Lucas will defend himself and sue whoever published that."
Andrey, a goalkeeper with Brazilian side Botafogo, is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant and could be extradited to Canada. Piazon faces an Ontario-wide warrant, which does not include the possibility of extradition.
"Because we don't have a treaty with Brazil, we'll have to go through the extradition process," inspector Joanna Beaven-Desjardins told Metro. "When he does travel, especially being part of an international team, we'll be notified of his movements."
Piazon joined Chelsea in August 2011 and is contracted to the Premier League club until 2017. He travelled on the first team's 2013 preseason tour to Asia after a short spell with Malaga towards the end of the 2012-13 campaign.
He spent the 2013-14 season at Vitesse Arnhem, the 2014-15 term at Eintracht Frankfurt, and is on a season-long loan at Reading. He has made eight appearances for the Royals so far this season.