Jurors in the rape trial of Man City player Benjamin Mendy were on Wednesday quizzed on whether they knew five other stars – as they were told they could be mentioned or witnesses in the case.
The names of Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish, Kyle Walker, Riyad Mahrez and John Stones – who all either play for or previously played for City – were read to the panel of jurors at Chester Crown Court being selected for the trial.
The potential jurors, selected from a pool of 38, heard the list of people who may be witnesses or could be referred to during the trial and were asked whether they had any connection to them or knew them personally.
They also heard the names of the complainants and were asked if they had any connections to Manchester City, Manchester United or police forces before 12 were selected for the case.
Mendy denies eight counts of rape, one count of sexual assault and one count of attempted rape. All the offences relate to seven women.
He will go on trial along with his co-defendant Louis Saha Matturie, 40, who has also entered not guilty pleas to all charges he faces.
Matturie, of Eccles, Salford, denies eight counts of rape and four counts of sexual assault, relating to eight young women.
Judge Steven Everett, Recorder of Chester, told the jury yesterday:
There are 22 counts or charges, if you are feeling overwhelmed by that I can assure you will be having a lot of assistance on how you will approach that.
Don’t feel daunted or overwhelmed by that. This trial could go through to November
Earlier Judge Everett told the jury:
Maybe you have heard their names. Some of you will be aware of the fact Mr Mendy is a professional footballer who plays football for Manchester City.
All the offences are alleged to have taken place at his home address and span between October 2018 and August last year.
His alleged offences span July 2012 to August last year.
None of the women involved must be identified and reporting restrictions apply ahead of the trial.
Mendy has played for Manchester City since 2017, when he joined from Monaco for a reported £52 million.
He was suspended by the club after being charged by police.
Both defendants are on bail.