Midfielder Arturo Vidal will not be suspended from Chile's Copa America squad despite being charged with drunk driving following a car crash, coach Jorge Sampaoli said on Wednesday as Vidal made a public apology.
"He made a mistake that isn't such a determining factor as to exclude him," Sampaoli told a news conference at Chile's training camp in Santiago. "What we need is to include him."
Vidal was charged with drunk driving after crashing his red Ferrari some 18 miles (30 km) south of Santiago on Tuesday night, following an afternoon off from training that he spent at a casino. He is expected to start Chile's final Group A match against Bolivia on Friday.
Hospital director Sergio Aguilera said three people were hurt including the player, who "had a lightly bruised neck."
"I had two drinks and had an accident, as everyone knows, and put the life of my wife and other people at risk. And for that I'm really sorry," Vidal told reporters, his voice cracking as he held back tears.
"I'm really embarrassed and all I can do is ask for forgiveness ... and show on the field that this opportunity I've been given is worth something," said Vidal..
After the crash Vidal spent the night in police custody and a judge suspended his driver's license on Wednesday. The judge opened a 120-day investigation into the accident and will require Vidal to check in with the Chilean consulate in Milan, where he plays for Juventus, while the investigation is ongoing.
The accident put Sampaoli in a tricky position, but he ultimately decided to keep Vidal on Chile's active roster.
Chilean state television showed pictures of Vidal's badly damaged car. It later showed Vidal, who has three goals in the tournament after scoring twice in Chile's 3-3 draw with Mexico on Monday, leaving in a police patrol car from the hospital where he was treated for minor injuries and had his blood-alcohol level tested.
Local radio station BioBio on Wednesday released footage of the player interacting with police shortly after the crash.
"Stop talking stupid," Vidal said to the officers. "Are you going to handcuff me? Handcuff me, but you're screwing all of Chile."
Hosts Chile are top of Group A in the 12-team tournament with four points from two matches, ahead of Bolivia on goal difference. Mexico have two points and Ecuador none.
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