Football: No sex please, we're Swiss

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A SEX ban has been imposed on Switzerland's World Cup players for the finals in the United States. 'I want my players to concentrate totally on football with all their strength,' Roy Hodgson, the Swiss national coach, said.

He has ordered his squad to stay celibate from 7 June, when they leave for a friendly against Bolivia in Montreal, until 26 June, when they play their final first-round match against Colonmbia.

The Swiss newspaper Blick quoted Hodgson, the former Bristol City manager, as saying: 'This is not a pleasure trip. I will not tolerate any wives or girlfriends in the squad's hotel. Neither will I tolerate any surreptitious visits to the women's hotel. I have no objection to them seeing each other on occasion with my permission.'

Reactions from the players were understandably mixed. Martin Ruda, soon to be a father for the second time, said: 'If the coach finds that sex could affect our performance, we have to accept that.'

Ciri Sforza, who has a live- in girlfriend, said: 'I had to laugh when I first heard of the ruling. In my opinion, when all is well in your private life this is reflected in your performance on the field.'

A former bodyguard of Diego Maradona has accused the former Argentine captain of smuggling cocaine and fixing matches to undermine his club Napoli's attempt to win the Italian league in 1988. Pietro Pugliese, a confessed five-times killer for the Camorra and a co-defendant of Maradona and his manager, Guillermo Coppola, in court on charges of drug possession, made his allegations during yesterday's hearing in Rome.