The Manchester City footballer Benjamin Mendy has pleaded not guilty to nine counts of sexual offences, including seven alleged rapes, against six women.
The France international entered not guilty pleas to the allegations when he appeared at Chester crown court on Monday.
Mendy, 27, was suspended by Manchester City when he was first charged by police in August last year. He appeared in court alongside a co-accused, Louis Saha Matturie, before their trial on 25 July.
Mendy is accused of seven alleged rapes, one attempted rape and one sexual assault.
Standing in the dock, Mendy replied “not guilty” nine times when the charges were put to him by the usher.
All the offences are alleged to have taken place at Mendy’s home address in Prestbury, Cheshire, and span between October 2018 and August last year.
Matturie, 40, pleaded not guilty to 12 counts involving eight women, including eight allegations of rape and four of sexual assault between July 2012 and August 2021.
In total the trial will relate to 21 alleged sexual offences against 12 women.
The judge Steven Everett, the honorary recorder of Chester, reminded reporters in the press box, including international media, that none of the women involved could be identified and that reporting restrictions applied before the trial.
After both defendants entered their pleas, the hearing went into private session with press excluded from the courtroom.
Mendy joined Manchester City from Monaco in 2017 for a reported £52m, which was then a record for a defender. He has not played for the club since August and did not appear at City’s Premier League-winning celebrations at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.