Giovanni Habel-Küffner rarely goes unnoticed. The Stade Français 3rd row centre is a solid 28-year-old who has taken to dyeing his hair in the colours of his club, showing off a pink or half-pink half-blue hair, as he has done since the derby loss against Racing (13-9) twelve days ago at the Stade Jean-Bouin. But it's seeing red that is causing him new headaches today. On the night of Saturday to Sunday, after a defeat in Pau (30-6), the player is said to have punched a member of the staff of the Section Paloise in the face for no apparent reason during a drunken evening in a nightclub in the Béarnaise city.
The gesture, obviously, does not go through and the capital club acknowledged, in a press release this Thursday morning, the altercation "between one of its players and a member of the Pau staff", revealed by the newspaper L'Equipe, announcing in the wake that sanctions would be taken. The question of dismissal now arises for Giovanni Habel-Küffner in a context where seven other players and two members of the coaching staff have, like him, ignored the staff's refusal of their request to leave and face lighter sentences.
"This ban was perhaps a bit exaggerated," said a source close to the players. They are mistaken for children. They didn't have to build the wall, but that's not a matter of state. The punch, on the other hand, is much more annoying. This affects the image of the club. He is obliged to sanction him but will he dismiss his only real No.8, who is very important on the pitch? President-owner Hans-Peter Wild, who is currently in the United States, will be back on Sunday to attend the Stade Français – Toulouse match at Jean-Bouin in the evening. He will quickly settle the question but the thorn in the side of the duo Laurent Labit and Karim Ghezal, who arrived a month ago just after the World Cup at the helm of a team then at the top of the Top 14, is already painful.
Especially since it concerns an endearing player, born to a Samoan father and a German mother, who spent his youth in New Zealand before joining the Pau training center in 2015, where he acquired French nationality. He had also already experienced some alcohol-related problems. Giovanni Habel-Küffner was sentenced in February 2019 to a two-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of 1000 euros for insults and rebellions after insulting police officers and refusing to follow them to the police station while he was laughing, drunk, at the bottom of a building, having rung the wrong number on the intercom while he was looking to sleep at a friend's house.
"He's integrated very well, he's doing a lot of good for the group," Gonzalo Quesada, the manager who brought him to Paris last season, said of him a year ago. His future in the capital now seems more than uncertain.