Volleyball star who raped a 12-year-old British girl can play in Paris (2024)

The Dutch Olympic Committee has risked a backlash after confirming convicted rapist Steven van de Velde can represent the country at the Olympic Games in Paris.

Van de Velde, 29, has qualified for the Games in beach volleyballwith his partner Matthew Immers but his participation at the event in the French capital is likely to cause controversy after he raped a 12-year-old British girl in 2014.

The Dutch star was 19when he flew from the Netherlands to the UK to meet the schoolgirl in August 2014 after the pair started chatting on Facebook before taking her virginity.

The sportsman, who knew how young the girl was at the time, was sentenced in March 2016 to four years in prison after admitting three counts of rape. He was released in 2017 having only served a year of his sentence.

Van de Velde has secured a spot at Paris 2024 but the country's Olympic Committee has the final say on selection.

Dutch volleyball playerSteven van de Velde (pictured) who was jailed for raping a 12-year-old girl has qualified to compete in the Paris Olympics next month

Van de Velde was 19 when he flew from the Netherlands to the UK to meet the schoolgirl in August 2014. Here he is seen celebrating at the Beach World Champs in 2023

Van de Velde pictured during the final of qualification for the German Championships in 2020

In a statement, theDutch Olympic Committee*Dutch Sports Federation said there was no reason to exclude Van de Velde from taking part at the Games.

'Since 2018, Steven van de Velde has been participating in international beach volleyball tournaments again following an intensive, professionally supervised trajectory,' a spokesperson told Mail Sport.

'At that time, the considerations and conditions for his return to the elite sport level were determined by the Dutch Volleyball Federation (NeVoBo) and NOC*NSF partly on the basis of the ‘NOC*NSF Guidelines Integrity Record’. These guidelines set out, e.g., the conditions under which athletes can return on elite sport level after conviction.

Read More Volleyball player who was jailed for raping a 12-year-old British girl qualifies for Paris Olympics

'Meanwhile, Steven van de Velde has met all qualification criteria for the Olympic Games and is therefore included in the group of athletes who formally passed over on 4 July from the Dutch national federations to NOC*NSF, who then becomes responsible for them during the Olympic Games.'

The International Olympic Committee, which governs the Games, said: 'The nomination of individual team members, following qualification on the field of play, is the sole responsibility of each respective National Olympic Committee. Therefore, we would refer to the Dutch NOC for any further information.'

During his trial just less than a decade ago, Aylesbury Crown Court heard how van de Velde had travelled to the UK and met up with his victim and had sex with her.

Sandra Beck, prosecuting, told the court at the time: 'She describes that she had met Steven Van de Velde on Facebook, they spoke regularly through that and he made her 'feel special'.

'She certainly made it clear she was seven years younger than him. This relationship over social media was taking place over a period of time.'

The volleyball player's victim had added him as a friend on Facebook after he commented favourably on one of her photos, the court heard.

They began to speak on a daily basis over Facebook, Snapchat and Skype before he arranged to visit her, arriving in Milton Keynes in August 2014.

The schoolgirl told her family she was staying with a friend and snuck out to try and book a hotel with the older teenager, aged 19 at the time.

When they couldn't find a room, they went to Furzton Lake in the town, where they drank Baileys and she performed a sex act on him.

The following day, after the pair slept in cardboard boxes under a stairway at Premier Inn, having again been unable to book a room, she took him to her empty house and he took her virginity.

Before he returned to the Netherlands Van de Velde advised her to get the morning after pill as they had not used contraception. It was her visit to a family planning clinic that alerted the authorities, who stepped in because of the girl's young age.

The sportsman, of Westeinde 46, Voorburg, the Netherlands, was extradited to the UK on January 8, when he was arrested on suspicion of the sex acts.He later admitted three counts of rape against a child.

The International Olympic Committee says it's up to individual countries on selection for Paris 2024

Van de Velde was released from prison in 2017 after servicing just a year of his four year sentence.

Following his release, he said: 'I do want to correct all the nonsense that has been written about me when I was locked up.

'I did not read any of it, on purpose, but I understand that it was quite bad, that I have been branded as a sex monster, as a paedophile. That I am not, really not.

'Everyone can have their opinion about me, but it is only fair if they also know my side of the story.'

Volleyball star who raped a 12-year-old British girl can play in Paris (2024)
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