Bruno Martini, former goalkeeper of the French handball team, world champion and president of the National Handball League (NHL), is implicated for “bribery of a minor” and “recording of child pornography images”learned Agence France-Presse, Wednesday, January 25, from a source familiar with the matter.
Targeted by an investigation since 2020 after a complaint from a 13-year-old teenager, Bruno Martini, 52, was arrested on Monday in Paris and placed in police custody. He was brought to justice on Tuesday evening and left free for an appearance for prior admission of guilt, added the same source, confirming information from Franceinfo. He should be presented Wednesday to a magistrate, who should offer him an appearance for prior recognition of guilt.
Bruno Martini, colossus of 1.97 m, was the goalkeeper of the Blues world champions in 1995, the first major title of French handball, launching the golden era of the crazy band of Barjots. Again world champion in 2001, his rich career as a player led him to the biggest French clubs, from OM-Vitrolles to Montpellier with whom he won the Champions League in 2003, then Paris.
He then turned to a career in management. At the head of a group of investors, he bought Paris Handball in 2010, of which he became general manager. It remains so when, two years later, the club is bought by the Qatar Sports Authority, already owner of PSG. The club becomes PSG Handball and dominates French handball, winning nine of the last ten French championships.
Bruno Martini leaves his post at the beginning of 2021 and announces in the wake of joining one of the biggest E-sports teams, Team Vitality, as general manager. He leaves it when he is elected president of the League in November 2022. “My projects are visibility, economic development and positioning”he argued at the time: “You have to carry the right values”.
French sport shaken
The investigation targeting Bruno Martini is the latest in a long series of legal troubles targeting French sports leaders. Among the most resounding, Bernard Laporte, the president of the French Rugby Federation (FFR), was sentenced at first instance in December 2022 to a two-year suspended prison sentence for having entered into a corruption pact with the businessman and president of the Montpellier club, Mohed Altrad.
He appealed against this judgment and withdrew, under pressure from the Ministry of Sports and the Ethics Committee of the FFR. He was again taken into custody on Tuesday in an aggravated tax fraud laundering case, but has emerged without prosecution at this stage.
As for Noël Le Graet, the all-powerful boss of the French Football Federation (FFF), he is the subject of an investigation for moral and sexual harassment and was forced to withdraw during an extraordinary Executive Committee.
Update from January 25 at 11 a.m.: the qualification of the questioning of Bruno Martini by justice has been rectified.