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Firmino fined Sh2.6mn for drink-driving

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Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino and wife Larissa Pereira arrive at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court in Liverpool, north-west England on February 1, 2017 © AFP / Paul ELLIS

LIVERPOOL, United Kingdom, Feb 1Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino was banned from driving for a year and fined Sh2.6mn (£20,000) after admitting drink-driving on Wednesday.

The Brazilian international was stopped by police while he was driving his Range Rover in Liverpool city centre in the early hours of Christmas Eve, December 24.

Defending the 25-year-old at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court, lawyer Michael Hogan said the incident took place the day after Firmino’s family home was targeted by burglars “prepared to use extreme force”.

However, in a statement issued after the hearing, where Firmino had a Portuguese interpreter with him in court, the Liverpool star accepted responsibility.

“I apologise, without reservation, to the club, the manager, my team-mates and the supporters for putting myself in this situation,” Firmino said.

“What I have done is wrong and sets a bad example.

“I promise to everyone in the LFC (Liverpool Football Club) family that I will learn from this mistake, learn from this experience and not repeat it in the future.”

Liverpool said in a statement that Firmino had been disciplined for a “lapse in judgment” but did not detail the specific action taken by the Premier League giants, adding it would have no impact on his availability for matches.

“The club considers this to be an isolated incident and a rare lapse in judgment and professionalism,” Liverpool said.

“We will however work with the player to further educate him on the dangers associated with drink-driving specifically.”

Earlier, the court was told how Firmino and his family, as well as friends from Brazil who were staying with them, moved out of the house following the burglary on police advice and were staying in a hotel next to the Merseyside force’s headquarters.

Firmino had been out to a restaurant before he was stopped by police.

“He was preoccupied and he accepts he should have kept a closer eye on what he had to drink,” said Hogan.

The hearing was told Firmino, accompanied to court by his wife Larissa Pereira, left the restaurant and took a “wrong turn”. He briefly drove on the wrong side of the road, before being stopped by police.

A breathalyser test showed he had a reading of 46 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath — above the legal limit of 35.

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