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Two Cuban volleyballers released, six still held

Six players from the men's national team will likely be remanded in custody on Tuesday – a month before they are due to take part in the Rio Summer Olympics. The head of the Finnish Volleyball Association says the team's participation would be in doubt if the suspects are found guilty. The world governing body told Yle it is "very concerned by the alleged serious misconduct by members of the Cuban National volleyball team".

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The Cuban team was in Finland for a qualifying tournament ahead of the FIVB Volleyball World League Finals.

The Central Finland Police Department said on Monday that it has made further progress in the investigation into a suspected case of aggravated rape at a Tampere hotel over the weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday, eight members of the Cuban men's volleyball team, including the team's captain, were detained. On Monday, two of those detained the day before were released. Authorities say they are no longer suspects.

On Tuesday, police will ask for the other six to be remanded in custody. The hearing will be held at Pirkanmaa District Court.

Police told Yle that they do not know whether the freed players or other members of the team have left the country. They were originally scheduled to leave on Monday morning following a weekend qualifying tournament for the FIVB Volleyball World League Finals.

Police have not released more details about the case, except to say that the alleged victim and suspects are all adults.

Rio ban possible

Meanwhile the chair of the Finnish Volleyball Association, Pasi Sydänlammi, says his organisation will inform the sport's world governing body, the FIVB, about this weekend's developments.

"It's possible that the FIVB in some way or other would block Cuba from taking part in the Olympics after this episode in the scenario that these individuals are found guilty of the crime of which they are accused. The Olympic movement could also shut them out of the games. I think perhaps the most likely alternative may be that the Cuban team withdraws based on an FIVB decision," Sydänlammi told Yle.

He added that Finnish players face strict rules about their behaviour during tournaments.

"Finnish players are not seen at nightclubs on game weekends or during training camps. That is how this event apparently started. The Cubans were out on the town late in the evening," he said.

Governing body comments

Later on Monday, the FIVB released a statement to Yle saying:

"The FIVB is very concerned by the alleged serious misconduct by members of the Cuban National volleyball team and is in close touch with all parties involved. The FIVB has absolute zero tolerance of any offence committed against another person by any players or officials at an FIVB event. Whilst the FIVB adheres to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, we expect all participants now to respect the due process and ultimate decision of the local and national authorities."

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