Hugo Mallo: Defender to go on trial over claims he groped woman dressed as rival team's mascot

A Spanish footballer is to go on trial over accusations he groped a woman dressed as a rival team's mascot before a match.

Hugo Mallo, a 32-year-old defender, is alleged to have touched the breasts of the woman, who was wearing a parakeet costume to represent La Liga side Espanyol, minutes before kick-off.

The incident allegedly happened on the pitch as Mallo and his Celta Vigo teammates shook hands with their Espanyol opponents before a 2019 league game.

The case against Mallo, who denies wrongdoing, a former Celta Vigo captain, was initially dismissed, but the decision was later overturned on appeal.

Spanish sports outlet As reported that the player told the court that television footage of the incident showed he did nothing wrong.

However, the court ruled the images were sufficient for him to face trial, which is expected to take place in July.

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Local radio network COPE said Mallo had told its journalists he had been fully focused on the fixture at the time, because his side was facing relegation from La Liga.

The right-back now plays for Brazilian club Internacional.

Prosecutors will be seeking a fine if the Spanish player is found guilty, court officials in Madrid revealed on Wednesday.