Former French international Steve Marlet has been placed under investigation for "gang rape" by a court in Auxerre, prosecutors said.
"A second man was also placed under investigation...and a third has been given the status of assisted witness," a prosecutor Estelle Meyer told AFP confirming a report in a local newspaper.
"At the time of the events, in 1997, the victim was a minor."
According to the Yonne Republicaine newspaper Marlet, who played for Auxerre from 1996 to 2000, "disputes the facts."
The three men appeared in court on Wednesday morning, a fourth who is currently abroad was not present.
Marlet, who turned 44 on Wednesday, played 23 times for France and had spells at Lyon, Fulham, Marseilles and Wolfsburg in addition to Auxerre. He started and ended his career at Red Star, in the Paris suburbs, and is now a coach at the third-division club.