Trial set for player accused of inappropriately touching mascot

Former Celta Vigo player Hugo Mallo will go on trial after being accused of inappropriately touching a mascot before a game in 2019, court officials said Wednesday.

Mallo denies any wrongdoing. The alleged incident happened before a LaLiga match against Espanyol.

The 32-year-old currently plays for Brazilian club Internacional.

Prosecutors and the defendant seek the payment of a fine if Mallo is found guilty.

Prosecutors said Mallo inappropriately touched the breasts of the woman who was wearing Espanyol's parakeet costume while players lined up to salute each other before kickoff.

The sports daily AS, which first reported that Mallo will go on trial, said the player told the court that the television images of the incident show that he did nothing wrong. The court said the images were enough to open a trial, though, which is expected to take place in July.

The local COPE radio network said it spoke with Mallo and he said he was sure of an acquittal based on the images. He said he was fully focused on the game, in which Celta needed a good result in the fight against relegation.

The case against the Spanish defender, who used to be a Celta captain, was initially dismissed but that decision was overturned on appeal.