Serge Aurier will miss PSG’s Champions League clash with Arsenal after British authorities banned the right-back from entering the country.
The Ivory Coast international was sentenced to two months in prison in September for elbowing a police officer, though the punishment was suspended and Aurier has launched an appeal.
PSG have issued a strongly-worded statement regarding the matter, insisting that they are “stunned by the incomprehensible situation”, having claimed that British authorities initially granted Aurier an entry visa in October.
However, they claim that the authorities have performed a sudden U-turn, citing his conviction, which PSG insist they declared.
The French club have claimed that the ruling shows a “flagrant lack of respect for the club” as they prepare for a crunch European encounter.
The statement reads: “Due to a sudden about-face by the British authorities, Serge Aurier has not been allowed to travel with Unai Emery’s squad for the clash away to Arsenal. Paris Saint-Germain is stunned by this incomprehensible situation that attacks the very integrity of the UEFA Champions League.
“After an initial application on 18 October, complete with all the necessary documents, the British authorities had originally granted Paris Saint-Germain’s Côte d’Ivoire international an entry visa to the UK on 21 October. However, on 16 November, his visa was finally revoked by the British Ministry of the Interior, who justified their about-face by citing Aurier’s conviction on 30 September, 2016. Paris Saint-Germain had, in all transparency, informed the British authorities of this conviction, as well as Aurier’s appeal against this decision (and the legal suspension of the ruling) from the outset.
“The club has argued several times that since the player has launched a legal appeal against the criminal ruling, he is therefore entitled to the presumption of innocence, as any other person exercising their right to appeal.
“Paris Saint-Germain strongly regrets that the presumption of innocence has not influenced Britain’s decision. On several occasions, UEFA has also transmitted its total support of Paris Saint-Germain to the British authorities regarding this case, in order to preserve the integrity of its competitions.
“The club also deplores that the final decision of the British authorities was only communicated at 14:00 CET on Tuesday, despite the club working for the last six days to find a solution to enable our player to travel with his teammates to London. Paris Saint-Germain considers this extremely tardive response as a flagrant lack of respect for the club, given that its player could have been training with the team just hours later at Emirates Stadium.
“In the face of this decision, albeit difficult to understand in respect to European law, Paris Saint-Germain, who had planned to travel to London with its strongest possible squad, invites its fans to be more united than ever, in support of their club.”
Arsenal and PSG have both taken 10 points from four Champions League games thus far this season, and the winner of Wednesday’s fixture may well decide the winners of Group A.