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26.04.2007 General News

Essien denies charges

By myjoyonline

Chelsea's Ghanaian midfielder Michael Essien has denied drink-driving charges against him, one of his entourage told AFP.

The Sun newspaper this week reported that a Chelsea insider and witness claimed Essien was arrested for drunk driving in the early hours on Monday after leaving a nightclub.

The tabloid said that the 24-year-old was pulled over by police in his black Range Rover, and took a breathalyser test. When the result proved positive, he was arrested.

A spokeswoman for London's Metropolitan Police declined to confirm whether Essien was arrested, as per police policy not to name individuals arrested, but told AFP that at approximately 5:10 am (0410 GMT) on Monday, "officers in Southwark (south London) stopped a vehicle driving in Old Kent Road."

"Officers spoke with the driver and subsequently arrested the 24-year-old man on suspicion of drink driving. He was taken into custody and later bailed to return pending further inquiries - next due on a date in July."

But a member of the player's entourage firmly denied the report, telling AFP that Essien had been taken to a police station to provide a blood sample after an inconclusive breathalyser test.

He said after Essien had passed the blood control he was allowed to leave the police station and drove home in his own car.

Essien missed Wednesday's Champions League semi-final first leg against Liverpool due to suspension.

Essien, who was named the BBC's African Footballer of the year in January in a poll in which 12,000 listeners voted, had reportedly gone clubbing in south London with his friends on Sunday night, before being arrested Monday morning.

Essien's spokeswoman was quoted as saying: "He is very upset and does not believe he was over the limit. Michael is a responsible person who would never drive if he thought he would be impaired by alcohol."

Credit: AFP

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