Mali international Sambou Yatabare imprisoned for attacking police officer

Sambou Yatabare is pictured playing for Royal Antwerp FC in 2017. JASPER JACOBS/AFP via Getty Images

Mali international Sambou Yatabare has been imprisoned after assaulting a police officer outside Paris, his club, Ligue 2 Sochaux-Montbeliard, confirmed on Thursday.

The 33-year-old has been incarcerated in the French city of Besancon since mid-January after failing to attend court following the incident, which occurred in June 2017, and he will be retried in the coming months.

France Bleu Belfort-Montbéliard radio reported that Yatabare was sentenced to 12 months in prison.

"FC Sochaux-Montbeliard confirm that their player Sambou Yatabare has been the subject of an arrest and imprisoned," a statement published on the club website announced on Thursday.

"No further comment on this private situation, unrelated to FCSM, will be made by the club."

French source L'Equipe reported that the midfielder was sentenced in absentia on Jan. 4 by the Bobigny criminal court in the northeast suburbs of Paris, and was held since mid-January at the remand centre in Besancon, 79km southwest of Sochaux.

Yatabare was found guilty of assaulting an off-duty police officer, attached to the national border control force, in the carpark of Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle airport outside the French capital while travelling to spend the weekend in Nice.

Then on the books of German club Werder Bremen, he was initially held in police custody for 48 hours before being released after the payment of an €80,000 bond.

The player's lawyer, Paris-based Amar Bouaou, told L'Equipe that his client was unaware of his obligation to declare a change of residence for the court case, and the summons to court had been sent to an old and disused email address.

"This series of events means that we were unaware of the trial, which my client did not attend," the lawyer told L'Equipe.

Beauvais-born Yatabare has represented the likes of AS Monaco, SC Bastia and Valenciennes during a career largely spent in France, while also featuring in Greece (Olympiacos), Belgium (Standard Liege and Royal Antwerp) and Germany (Werder Bremen).

Also eligible for France and Senegal, Yatabare made his Mali debut in 2008 and played at the Africa Cup of Nations tournaments in 2013, 2015 and 2017.

ESPN has contacted Yatabare's legal representative for further comment.