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Sports

Copa America: Chile midfielder Vidal released and won't face suspension

The Juventus midfielder was arrested on Wednesday following a car accident when under the influence of alcohol. But Vidal will continue to play for host nation Chile at the 2015 Copa America.

Chile star Arturo Vidal was released from custody and will play for the rest of the Copa America, the national team coach confirmed.

"We have decided not to suspend him," said Jorge Sampaoli. "I don't think it's as major as some have made it out to be."

The player, formerly on the books of Bayer Leverkusen, has been stripped of his driving license and will need to report to the Chilean consulate in Milan on a monthly basis.

Vidal appeared in court on Thursday after being arrested on suspicion of drink driving in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The player crashed his Ferrari on the outskirts of the capital Santiago when he was returning to the team headquarters.

The players were expected to be back at the camp in La Serena by 11pm local time on Tuesday following Chile's 3-3 draw with Mexico on Monday evening.

The Juventus midfielder and his team-mates were given the afternoon off to spend with families and Vidal was reported to have been in the casino.

Police Colonel Ricardo Gonzalez explained to the media that Vidal was arrested and would appear in court on Thursday for drink driving charges.

"Both drivers were tested for alcohol, and the red car's driver tested positive," said Gonzalez.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation and Vidal has denied responsibility for the crash.

Autounfall Arturo Vidal

Wreckage of Vidal's Ferrari found around 30km outside Santiago

The 28-year-old and his wife underwent a checkup at a local health clinic in Santiago, but suffered no serious injuries despite a 'bruised neck' for the player according to his doctor Sergio Aguilera.

"I had a traffic accident today, it wasn't my fault, I am fine, my family too, and thanks for everything," Vidal said on social media.

Uncertain future

Vidal is the tournament's top goalscorer with three goals in two games for Chile, but whether he remains with the squad for the remainder of the tournament is unclear.

Coach Jorge Sampaoli has discussed Vidal's future with the president of Chile's football federation on Wednesday amid widespread condemnation in domestic media.

A majority of 61% responded to a poll by Chilean newspaper El Mercurio, which asked its readers whether Vidal should be booted out of the Chilean camp.

In 2011, Vidal was at the center of another scandal surrounding the national team when he admitted to drinking alcohol after turning up 45 minutes late for international duty.

Then-head coach Claudio Borghi described the state of the accused players as 'indefensible and inappropriate for a professional sportsman'.

rd/jh (SID, dpa)