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France convict ex-int’l Vairelles over armed assault

A French court on Monday sentenced former international footballer Tony Vairelles to five years in prison, with two suspended, for armed assault during a nightclub fracas near his home city of Nancy in 2011.

His three brothers, Fabrice, Jimmy and Giovan, were also handed prison terms for taking part in the assault against security staff at the club after they were thrown out for drunken behaviour. The four men later returned with baseball bats to attack the door staff, who responded with tear gas and a baton before one man opened fire with a 22 calibre rifle.

Three bouncers were shot and injured, but the court also gave them suspended prison sentences of three to four months for their part in the brawl. Vairelles’ lawyers had tried to have the case thrown out, saying the investigation had dragged on too long and seen four different presiding judges over 10 years.

He and his brothers denied the attempted murder charges, and had been released on bail since 2012. Vairelles, 49, starred for local side AS Nancy, before notable spells with both Lens and Lyon. He won the French title with Lens in 1998 and with Lyon in 2003, and was capped eight times by France between 1998 and 2000.

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