Confederations Cup

Egyptians deny "media lies" about prostitutes

June 22, 2009

Egypt have blamed their Confederations Cup exit on media "lies" about their players consorting with prostitutes after beating world champions Italy.

Head of mission Mahmoud Taher told a news conference on Monday that the team had been stunned by local newspaper reports.

He said the team, knocked out on Sunday after losing 3-0 to the United States, had in fact been robbed at their hotel.

"The players have been really subjected to terrible damage in Egypt and they are in a very bad mood right now due to the false allegations that were published in the newspapers here," he said.

"The media have caused all this damage which we were shocked by.

"The allegations were published in the papers here on Saturday and Sunday morning and unfortunately the players heard about it from back home," he added.

"These lies started here in South Africa then they were quoted back home and this had an affect on our players.

"This was not the only reason for the defeat, we had some injuries, and some players got injuries in the match, but these were some of the reasons for the defeat."

Local media have alleged the money was not stolen but paid to "ladies of the night", with about 19,000 rand taken from the players after their shock 1-0 win over Italy in Johannesburg last Thursday.

Fikile Mbalula, a police commissioner responsible for security at the event, told an earlier news briefing that the matter was still under investigation.

He added that the police could not be responsible for people or friends invited into hotel rooms "who may not be security friendly to you."

Taher, whose delegation was leaving Johannesburg on Monday night, responded: "I am saying that no strangers, no women, no girls, nobody came to the floors or the premises of the Egyptian delegation," he said.

"We came back to our hotel and the players went to their rooms and discovered they had lost their money and their belongings.

"They complained to the reception at the hotel accompanied by our LOC (organising committee) escort who reported it to his superiors and he reported it to the police," he said.

"We thought it could be sorted out as a simple incident that can happen at any hotel. What we are answering today is what was published in the newspapers, not about the theft because the police are investigating that problem.

"We are demanding from the media protection to our players honour and dignity and the rights due to our culture in Egypt."

A spokeswoman for the South African Police Service (SAPS) said they were investigating the case and would not give out any details until the probe was concluded.

"The team members involved have already given SAPS detectives their statements so there would be no need for them to be interviewed or interrogated further," she added.

Local media also reported that some Brazilian players had been robbed of a "jacket and some money" from their hotel.