Lloris avoids jail but gets fine and driving ban

Tottenham Hotspur’s French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris leaves after attending Westminster Magistrates Court in central London Wednesday. — AFP

LONDON — France’s World Cup-winning captain Hugo Lloris avoided jail but received a 20-month driving ban and a £50,000 ($65,000) fine Wednesday for drink-driving in central London.

The Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper had earlier called his behavior “unacceptable” and received a lighter sentence from a judge who could have locked up the star for six months.

“On 15th of July, he was the proudest man of the planet,” attorney David Sonn said in reference to the day Lloris and his France team lifted the World Cup trophy in Moscow.

“Forty days later, he was arrested in central London,” said the lawyer. “Today he apologizes to the court.”

Lloris was one of the heroes of France’s commanding march to their second football World Cup in 20 years.

The triumph turned the 31-year-old into a national hero and confirmed his status as one of the most respected goalkeepers in the world.

But Lloris’s dream turned into a nightmare when his Porsche was pulled over for a routine stop in central London at 2:20 a.m. on August 24.

The Daily Mail tabloid said Lloris registered 100 micrograms of alcohol per 100 milliliters of breath in a police check.

The legal driving limit in England in a breathalyser test is 35 micrograms.

“I wish to apologize wholeheartedly to my family, the club, my teammates, the manager and all of the supporters,” Lloris had earlier said in a statement.

“Drink-driving is completely unacceptable, I take full responsibility for my actions and it is not the example I wish to set.”

Police said Lloris nearly hit parked cars and went through a red light. They found vomit in the car after stopping him. Lloris spent seven hours in a cell that night before returning home on foot.

His lawyer said Lloris knew he should not have been driving and had called a cab after a night out.

“He had booked a taxi but unfortunately the taxi canceled at the last minute,” Sonn said. “He made a first mistake — he decided to drive.”

The married father of two looked stoic and dressed impeccably in a dark suit and blue shirt as he made his way in silence through a crush of reporters into the courtroom.

Lloris missed France’s opening games in the inaugural UEFA Nations League.

France coach Didier Deschamps attributed his ‘keeper’s absence to a thigh injury and gave Lloris his wholehearted support.

“He knows only too well that it shouldn’t happen, but it happened and it’s not going to change what I think about him and the Hugo Lloris that I’ve always known,” said Deschamps.

Lloris’s London club is now left to ponder what to do with its starting keeper after his conviction for a serious driving offense.

Tottenham has won three of its first four matches and is placed fifth in the English Premier League.

A team spokesman said before the sentencing that Tottenham was treating the entire matter “extremely seriously”.

Lloris has made 256 appearances with Tottenham since joining from the French club Lyon in 2012. — AFP