QPR’s Ilias Chair sentenced to year in Belgian prison for breaking man’s skull

<span>Ilias Chair during QPR’s game against Bristol City this month.</span><span>Photograph: Graham Hunt/ProSports/Rex/Shutterstock</span>
Ilias Chair during QPR’s game against Bristol City this month.Photograph: Graham Hunt/ProSports/Rex/Shutterstock

The Queens Park Rangers player Ilias Chair has been sentenced to a year in prison after being found guilty in Belgium of assaulting a man and breaking his skull with a rock.

Chair, 26, who is a key player for the Championship side and a Belgium-born Morocco international, is expected to appeal against the verdict and his club understand he remains available for selection as the Belgian legal process continues.

“The club are, and have been, in regular contact with Ilias Chair’s legal team regarding a charge of assault which has been made against him,” QPR said in a statement. “The legal proceeding is yet to reach its conclusion. As such, the club will be making no further comment at this stage.”

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On Friday the news agency Belga reported that Chair had been sentenced by an Antwerp court to two years in jail, with one year suspended, and ordered to pay €15,864 (£13,546) in damages and interest to his victim, a lorry driver who had his skull fractured after an altercation during a kayaking expedition in Belgium and France in 2020.

The assault occurred during a mass confrontation among the travelling tourists as they sought to get back on their coach in the French town of Bazeilles. The lorry driver, referred to in court as Neils T, was taken to hospital after having his skull fractured and losing consciousness. The court heard that Neils still suffers from his injuries today. Chair denied the charges but was identified in court as being the man who had struck a rock at the head of Neils T.

Two other men were also found guilty at the trial and sentenced to six and 12 months in prison respectively.