Sports

February 22, 2024

10 footballers who have been sentenced to jail and their offences

10 footballers who have been sentenced to jail and their offences

Over time, some footballers have been found guilty of crimes outside of football and convicted legally. They go on to serve jail sentences as proof that, despite their football stardom, they are accountable for the actions they make as members of society.


We compiled a list of ten footballers who have served jail time, as well as the offenses they committed:

Footballers who have served jail time

Nizar Trabelsi

Trabelsi played for Fortuna Dusseldorf for a season when he was in Germany. He played for the team in just one league game and scored a goal.

Trabelsi was arrested shortly after his debut due to his ties to Al-Qa’ida. Trabelsi was found guilty of preparing an assault against US soldiers at a Belgian air base. In addition, he was thought to be the mastermind behind the terrorist scheme involving the Paris Embassy, having been assigned the role of the suicide bomber who would carry out the attack.

Trabelsi received a 10-year jail term in 2003.

Lee Hughes

The 2004 season was a turning point in the life of the former West Bromwich Albion striker. One evening while driving, Hughes collided his Mercedes with another vehicle, killing the occupant of the other vehicle.

Even worse, there were rumors that Hughes had been driving while intoxicated, so he and his companion left the scene. Hughes handed himself in the next day and was released on police bail.

Hughes was found guilty in 2004 of killing someone by driving recklessly and fleeing the scene of an accident. Hughes received a six-year prison term along with a ten-year driving suspension.

Joey Barton

Barton has twice been convicted on charges of assault. The first incident occurred at 2 a.m. when he collided with a pedestrian in Liverpool’s City Centre. Barton was convicted of assault and served 77 days in prison.

Barton was freed from prison on July 28, 2008. However, on July 1, 2008, Barton received a four-month suspended sentence after admitting assault resulting in actual bodily harm to his former Manchester City teammate Ousame Dobo.

Ronaldinho

After visiting Paraguay, Ronaldinho and his brother Roberto de Assis became embroiled in a fake passport case. In 2020, they entered a guilty plea, reducing their sentence from five years to five months and imposing a joint fine of $200,000 (£167,000). The brothers were imprisoned in Asuncion, where

Ronaldinho celebrated his 40th birthday.

Adam Johnson

Johnson is one of several professional footballers who have been sentenced to jail for child molestation.

The former Manchester City and Sunderland footballer was convicted in 2016. Sunderland sacked him for having an affair with a 15-year-old girl whose identity was kept private for legal reasons. Adam Johnson was released from HM Prison Leeds and HM Prison Moorland in 2019, after serving half of his six-year sentence.

George Best

Best, one of the greatest Manchester United footballers of all time, had a wild off-the-field lifestyle that harmed his career and life.

Best was a notorious drunkard, which frequently interfered with his football career. Best’s life took a turn for the worst in 1984. He served time in jail after being convicted of drunk driving, assaulting a police officer, and failing to answer bail.

Best’s chaotic lifestyle would eventually catch up with him, and his alcoholism would take his life in 2005 at the young age of 59.

Duncan Ferguson

Aside from having a flourishing career, Ferguson had a number of issues, including four assault accusations. Three of these charges ended in simple penalties, two of which involved taxi drives and one involving a confrontation with a fisherman.

The most notable charge, however, was when Ferguson headbutted Raith Rovers defender John McStay when playing for Rangers in 1994. Ferguson received a three-month prison sentence for the headbutt, notwithstanding the fact that it occurred on the field.

Rene Higuita

In 1993 Higuita was imprisoned for being involved in a kidnapping. The kidnapping involved famous Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar. While Higuita’s job was simply to deliver the ransom money, he was paid for his services, and it is against Colombian law to profit from a kidnapping.

Marlon King

The former Birmingham and Wigan striker was jailed for 18 months in 2009 for molesting a woman and fracturing her nose. In December 2008, Marlon King was partying with his pregnant wife in a London club when the event occurred. In 2014, he got a three-year driving restriction for admitting to reckless driving a second time. The ex-Jamaica international relocated with his family to a 200-acre estate near Lusaka city in Zambia.

Tony Adams


The former Arsenal defender struggled with drinking throughout his football career. This finally caught up with Adams in May 1990, when he smashed his automobile into a wall near his residence. After testing, he was discovered to be 27 times the legal limit.
Adams was sentenced to four months jail term in December, but was released early in February.

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