Football: US hosts accuse Greeks

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

ALAN ROTHENBERG, the chairman of World Cup USA 1994, has alleged that whoever broke into Greece's dressing-room at Giants Stadium while the team played a World Cup warm-up against Colombia had inside help from the Greek delegation.

An investigation by the World Cup organisers concluded there was neither involvement of security personnel nor negligence on the part of either Giants Stadium or World Cup USA personnel.

'We feel with some certainty now that the alleged incident could only have taken place with 'inside' connivance from the (Greek) delegation,' Rothenberg said in a statement.

Rothenberg said no one was allowed in the Greek locker-room on Sunday - when the Greeks lost 2-0 to Colombia - without either clearance or supervision by a member of the Greek delegation.

The theft of an undisclosed amount of money and jewellery from the locker-room was one of two burglaries committed against the Greek team. Thieves also took almost dollars 18,000 (pounds 12,000) in money and jewellery from three Long Island hotel rooms housing Greek World Cup players.

The alleged burglary at the Garden City Hotel was discovered hours after Alkis Panagoulias, the coach, said someone had robbed the team's locker-room.

Nassau County Detective William Bambrick, who is investigating the hotel theft, said Greek players reported that some of their hotel keys were taken in the incident at Giants Stadium, about 25 miles from the hotel.

Bambrick said that none of the hotel rooms burgled showed evidence of forced entry. He did not have an opinion on whether the alleged theft at the hotel was an inside job, but said he would not rule it out.

Police believe the hotel burglaries happened between 10am and 5pm on Sunday. The Greece-Colombia game started at 1pm. Rick Vanderclock, a New Jersey state police sergeant, said officials with the Greek team filed a report on Monday about the alleged theft at Giants Stadium. 'We are actively investigating it now,' Vanderclock said.