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FIFA maker EA Sports issues statement to describe Cristiano Ronaldo rape allegations as 'concerning'

The footballer’s relationship with his sponsors could be in jeopardy over the allegations.

Cristiano Ronaldo during a Serie A match between Juventus and Napoli at the Allianz Stadium.
Cristiano Ronaldo during a Serie A match between Juventus and Napoli at the Allianz Stadium.
Image: Alberto Gandolfo/PA Images

VIDEO GAME MAKER EA Sports has described rape allegations against Cristiano Ronaldo, a leading figure in their successful FIFA series, as “concerning”.

The Portuguese footballer’s relationship with his sponsors could be in jeopardy after police in Las Vegas announced they were reopening a rape case against him.

The allegations were made by a former model, Kathryn Mayorga, relating to an incident during the summer of 2009, when Ronaldo moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid.

Mayorga claims she was pressured into signing a non-disclosure agreement in 2010 to keep the alleged rape secret and is seeking at least $200,000 in penalties and damages.

In a statement today, EA Sports said: “We are closely monitoring the situation, as we expect cover athletes and ambassadors to conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with EA’s values.”

It follows a similar statement from Nike, with the company saying it was “deeply concerned” by the allegations, while shares in Juventus – for whom Ronaldo plays – fell by over 5% on the Italian stock exchange on Friday.

Fans angered

Ronaldo’s move to the Italian champions was a huge boost both on and off the field, with shares rising 180% to a record price of over €1.80 on September 20.

But the Turin-based club woke up to the sobering news on Friday that over 5% had been wiped off the value of their shares after the Milan stock exchange opened.

At midday on Friday they were worth €1.25 a share.

Juventus have so far stood behind Ronaldo, but the Italian club’s reaction to the issue has angered some fans.

The Portuguese striker “has shown in recent months his great professionalism and dedication, which is appreciated by everyone at Juventus”, the club wrote on Twitter Thursday, breaking their silence over the allegations.

“The events allegedly dating back to almost 10 years ago do not change this opinion, which is shared by anyone who has come into contact with this great champion.”

Juventus later posted a video on YouTube and Twitter showing Ronaldo working up a sweat as he trained with his teammates for Saturday’s league game against Udinese.

“Juventus go for goal. Cristiano Ronaldo finds the target!” read the caption beside the video.

The defending Serie A champions’ tweets were widely panned on social media as “shockingly dismissive and insensitive”.

“You’d expect a more nuanced and sensitive approach from such a mega organisation,” said one tweet.

Portugal coach

Ronaldo has vehemently denied the accusations.

“I firmly deny the accusations being issued against me,” he tweeted in English on Wednesday.

“Rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I am and believe in.

“My clear conscious [sic] will thereby allow me to await with tranquility the results of any and all investigations,” he added on his Twitter feed, which has 75 million followers.

Portugal said Thursday Ronaldo will play no part in the country’s next four internationals, but he was given backing from Portugal coach Fernando Santos and the president of the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF), Fernando Gomes.

Asked about the allegations, Santos said: “I know Cristiano Ronaldo very well and I fully believe his word when he says he would never commit a crime like this.”

Gomes also spoke up for Ronaldo.

“I believe what he said … because I’ve known Ronaldo for many years and I can attest to his good character,” he said.

© – AFP 2018

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