Chile's Arturo Vidal loses licence for drunk driving after crashing Ferrari
A Chilean judge on Wednesday was lenient with Chile star midfielder Arturo Vidal, releasing him from jail the morning after Vidal crashed his red Ferrari on the outskirts of Santiago while driving under the influence of alcohol.
Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli said Vidal will play in Friday's Copa America match against Bolivia: "We shouldn't exclude someone just because they made a mistake."
Vidal had his driver's licence confiscated and must report to the Chilean consulate in Milan monthly. The judge also allotted 120 days for a complete investigation.
Vidal, who suffered minor injuries, had been held overnight. Vidal apologised during a news conference after Chile's practice on Wednesday.
"I had two drinks and then the accident, which you all know about. I endangered the life of my wife and that of many people. I am very sorry," Vidal told reporters. "I am very ashamed. I want to thank all those who supported me during this time. I want to ask for forgiveness from my colleagues, the players, the coaches and the whole country. I will do my best so that we can be champions."
Sampaoli said he weighed the team's options.
"The measure that myself and the staff will take. We tried to account for the fact that he is a very valuable player for us," Sampaoli said. "He made a mistake that for us was not grounds for exclusion and we wanted to convince him that he is someone that the national team needs now and in the future."
"We can't punish him because we had given the day off to the players. And so I don't believe that it deserves to have such a big magnitude as it has played out to be," Sampaoli said. "We as the technical staff are preparing for Bolivia."
Local media reports said Vidal, the Copa America's leading scorer with three goals from two matches, crashed the vehicle when he was driving with his wife on a highway south of the Chilean capital on their way back from a casino.
A photo of the accident showed heavy damage to the left-front of the Ferrari, and the airbags apparently deployed. Vidal was present in court on Wednesday as he was formally charged.
Benjamin Silva, father of Emilia (and impetus for Chile's anti-drunk driving law, known as the Emilia Law) told Radio ADN: "It is shameful that Vidal was held in an office and not a jail. The law should apply equally to everyone."
The judge added during remarks that Vidal has been previously cited for driving over the speed limit, according to La Tercera.
Vidal scored twice in Chile's 3-3 draw against Mexico on Monday, and also scored in the team's opening win against Ecuador last week. Chile's next game is Friday against Bolivia.