A former footballer says his Christian faith freed him from seeing a voodoo doctor, with a sports chaplain revealing black magic is commonly used in French football.
Ex-Ivory Coast international Gilles Yapi Yapo claims he was cheated out of €200,000 by a witch doctor, whom he paid for animal sacrifices.
Yapi Yapo, claims the doctor even told him to sacrifice his son if he couldn't continue to pay, but that his Christian faith gave him the strength to put an end to "the hold" the doctor had on him.
With so much money at stake, elite sports players “regularly turn to witch doctors and to the paranormal”, according Joel Thibault, a French evangelical pastor who is a spiritual adviser to players including France's all-time record goalscsrorer Olivier Giroud.
Former Tottenham and Crystal Palace midfielder John Bostock, who's currently at Notts County, spent 7 seasons playing in France and Belgium.
He tells Premier he's often seen superstition taken to the extreme by those he's played with and against:
"I can see why they would turn to something like that, if you don't believe in eternity and it's all about gain and making the best out of your life, then people will find any means to prosper... But we know that Satan is the god of this world - small 'g' - but he blinds people [from seeing] clearly.
"He [Yappi Yapo] is now a pastor, he's now a man of God.
"By the grace of God, he was set free and now he ministers from a place of victory in Christ. But there are players out there who maybe come into it naively and innocently, but there is a massive cost to pay in the long run and that's what we see with the enemy."
Bostock told Premier that the witchcraft services used by footballers tend to start with "20 and 30 and 40 euros for maybe a sacrifice of some animals," until, as in the case of Yappi Yapo, it gets to €40-60,000 for "interventions in the realm of spiritual darkness".
Bostock reminded Premier of Proverbs 10:22: "The blessing of the Lord brings wealth and adds no sorrow".
"Unfortunately... when the gifts or access is given from the Enemy, sorrow comes with it [as a] price."
Bostock founded and leads Ballers in God, a football-based Christian evangelism network with a significant social media presence, where he regularly posts Bible verses, prayer encouragements and testimonies of footballers to nearly a quarter of a million followers.
He says the issue of witchcraft helps reveal the purpose of his ministry in the sport.
"This is why we are in football... We want to raise up a standard and show players that there's another way there's a better way. And it's not just 'a' way, He's 'THE' way and His name's Jesus."