Police file charges against Israeli man who hugged Messi at PSG vs Maccabi Haifa game

The suspect in question is a 23-year-old resident from Ma'ale Adumim, who was arrested and interrogated immediately after the incident.

 Photo of the person who burst onto the soccer field to hug soccer player Lionel Messi September 14, 2022. (photo credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Photo of the person who burst onto the soccer field to hug soccer player Lionel Messi September 14, 2022.
(photo credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

An indictment was filed by Israel Police on Thursday against a man who hugged soccer player Lionel Messi during a game between French team Paris Saint-Germain and Israeli team Maccabi Haifa.

The game took place two weeks ago at the Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa when at the 80th minute, the individual burst onto the grass after jumping over the separation barriers, ran across the playing field, tightly hugged the Argentinian soccer player, and caused the game to be stopped.

The incident was broadcast to millions of viewers around the world.

Who is the suspect anyway?

The suspect in question is a 23-year-old resident from Ma'ale Adumim, who was arrested and interrogated immediately after the incident and received an indictment by the Israel Police prosecution division as part of a conditional settlement procedure, which means after he completes all conditions required of him, the case is closed and he is not convicted, according to N12.

"Israel Police takes this type of offense very seriously and will continue to use all the tools at its disposal to bring those who commit sports-related offenses to justice," an Israel Police spokesperson said.

Paris Saint-Germain's Lionel Messi shoots against Maccabi Haifa’s Daniel Sundgren during the teams’ Champions League clash at Sammy Ofer Stadium this week. (credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)Paris Saint-Germain's Lionel Messi shoots against Maccabi Haifa’s Daniel Sundgren during the teams’ Champions League clash at Sammy Ofer Stadium this week. (credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)

Maccabi Haifa announced that he is not recognized as a fan and will never attend another game again that will feature the team, N12 reported. The soccer club from Haifa was reportedly fined 8,000 euros for the incident and will also file a lawsuit against the individual, a separate N12 report said.

The game was part of the Group Stage section of the UEFA Champions League tournament. Maccabi Haifa and Paris Saint-Germain will next play on October 25, but this time in Paris.