Blackburn Rovers striker El-Hadji Diouf could face up to two years in jail after being charged with assaulting a woman in a Senegalese casino.

Diouf, 29, appeared in court while on a trip to his home country to attend a benefit concert for the victims of the Haiti earthquake.

His bosses at Rovers said Diouf had been given time off to return to Senegal after the personal request from the country’s president.

Diouf’s agent Aleksandar Krstic, speaking from Tunisia, said that the arrest on Friday had come as a shock to the footballer.

He said: “He was attending a charity event and did not expect to be arrested.

“At this stage I cannot say much more but I will be coming to the UK this week to speak to him about the matter.”

The charge of wounding with intent relates to an alleged incident at 6am on June 28 last year at the Casino du Cap Vert at the coastal resort of Almadies in Senegal.

If convicted Diouf could be facing jail having been convicted in Senegal in 2006 for an assault on the ex-wife of his international teammate and former Bolton Wanderers midfielder Khalilou Fadiga, when he was given a suspended three-month jail sentence.

He also has a conviction for assault in Scotland following an accusation that he spat at Celtic fans while playing for Liverpool.

Diouf and a man named as his bodyguard, Senegalese wrestler Cheik Sadibou Boye, have both been charged after a complaint was made by a woman called Khady Sy.

If found guilty Diouf could be jailed for between one month and two years and/or fined.

The striker may be required to return to face the allegations at a court in Senegal at a later date.

Diouf could be ordered to return for the hearing but there is no extradition agreement between Senegal and the UK.

Reports in Senegal’s L’Observateur newspaper said that the footballer was arrested following a complaint of ‘assault and battery’.

It reported: “El Hadji Diouf will soon appear at the county court of Dakar to face allegations of acts of ‘deliberate assault’.

“According to our sources, he was charged yesterday by the chief investigating judge Alioune Diouf Niokhor.

“In July last year Khady Sy, the alleged victim, provided a medical certificate attesting to a temporary incapacity of 20 days and had filed a complaint with the Division of Research of the National Gendarmerie.

“The complainant explained that on Saturday, June 28, 2009, around 6am, El Hadji Diouf had roundly beaten the woman helped by his bodyguards.”

Senegalese international Diouf arrived in the Premier League in 2002, when Liverpool signed him from Lens for £10million.

He then moved to Bolton Wanderers and Sunderland before signing for Rovers in January 2009 for around £2million.

A spokesman for Blackburn Rovers said the club gave Diouf permission to attend the charity event in Senegal last week because Rovers did not have a match.

The club would not comment on the allegations.

Conditions in Senegalese jails are notoriously tough.

Last November the International Committee of the Red Cross launched an investigation into conditions in prisons in the country.

Particular concerns were raised about overcrowding as prison populations have soared in recent years.