Football: Bayern admit to spying on one of their players

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Germany

THE tabloid newspaper Bild ran a front-page story on Wednesday which many readers apparently thought was an April Fool's joke.

It alleged that Bayern Munich had employed a private detective to spy on the lifestyle of their international midfielder, Mario Basler. To the embarrassment of the powerful Bundesliga club, though, the story was at least partly true.

"It was not a detective," Bayern's press officer, Markus Horwick, said. "One of our employees simply checked how late Basler returned home.

Bayern's general manager, Uli Honess, said: "Sometimes young people have to be looked after. I don't regard this as an unusual measure."

Asked if he had been upset to have somebody watching over him, Basler said: "That was not a problem. While he was around, I always went to bed at 11pm."

Japan/South Korea

FIFA, world football's ruling body, this week denied a report suggesting that South Korea and Japan wanted to delay the start of the 2002 World Cup finals to avoid playing during the June-July rainy season.

"It's not true at all," Keith Cooper, a Fifa spokesman, said. "We don't know anything about it." An American news agency had earlier quoted the South Korean prime minister as saying local World Cup organisers were discussing with Fifa the possibility of delaying the finals until September.

Fifa were reported to be positive about the proposal - but Cooper ruled that out absolutely. He insisted there had been no discussion with either South Korea or Japan on the subject. "We play in June and July," he said. "That is when the players are available."

Cameroon

ONE man's name was conspicuous by its absence when Cameroon unveiled their new new coaching set-up this week.

Roger Milla, the talismanic former national team centre-forward, was a man of mystery at the African Nations' Cup in February. He arrived in Burkina Faso claiming he was just on a scouting mission for the French club, Montpellier, but he was seen going into the Cameroon dressing- room at every match. Sources close to the team said that he had even been giving team talks.

However, there was no official job for Milla this week. The outgoing coach, Jean Onguene, has been demoted to No 2 to the new coach, Claude Le Roy, who returns for his second spell in charge. Another Frenchman, Pierre Makowsky, is the fitness trainer while Thomas N'Kono is the new goalkeeping coach.

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