Cristiano Ronaldo rape claim: sponsors express ‘deep concerns’
Star dropped from Portugal squad as fallout from scandal continues to escalate
The evolving scandal surrounding a sexual assault allegation against football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has escalated, as major sponsors Nike and EA publicly address the accusation for the first time.
The sportswear manufacturer, which has a sponsorship deal with Ronaldo worth an estimated $1 billion (£768 million) has expressed “deep concerns” over the allegation, saying it would “continue to closely monitor the situation”.
Another of Ronaldo’s major sponsors, video game company EA, has also said it is also monitoring the situation carefully, adding: “We expect cover athletes and ambassadors to conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with EA's values.”
Meanwhile, Ronaldo has been left out of the Portugal squad for its upcoming friendlies against Poland and Scotland later this month.
Former model and teacher Kathryn Mayorga claims the 33-year-old footballer assaulted her at a Las Vegas hotel in 2009, after meeting him at Rain Nightclub at the Palms Casino Resort.
Der Spiegel reports that Mayorga reported the alleged attack to Las Vegas police shortly after the incident took place in Ronaldo’s penthouse suite, however they declined to investigate further.
The following year, she signed a non-disclosure agreement regarding the allegation, and months later received a $375,000 (£288,000) out-of-court settlement from Ronaldo, the BBC says.
However, she recently went public with her story, saying she had been inspired by the #MeToo movement.
A lawyer acting on behalf of Mayorga is seeking to have the non-disclosure agreement declared null and void, arguing that his client has suffered from major depression and considered suicide following the alleged assault almost a decade ago.
Ronaldo issued a statement via Twitter, saying: “I firmly deny the accusations being issued against me. Rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I am and believe in.”