, JOHANNESBURG, Jun 24 – Egyptian players involved in the Confederations Cup who claimed money was stolen from their hotel had invited prostitutes to their room who apparently made off with their money.
South African police declined to confirm the story, but senior police told the Sunday Independent newspaper that there was no sign of forced entry and that the players had been partying with women invited to their rooms.
"They could have come up with the robbery claims to avoid being caught out or embarrassed by their spouses and girlfriends back home in Egypt," an unnamed police official told the paper.
"No money was taken from the safe, but we have heard that they had been drinking and womanising, and the same women later robbed them," he said.
The head of the Egyptian Confed Cup delegation, Mahmoud Tahir, strongly denied the report.
"Of course it is not true, the security is very high and no one is allowed to get into the rooms without accreditation," Tahir told AFP.
He added that they had asked the police for an explanation on the matter.
Protea Hotels issued a statement saying they were co-operating with police after the players claimed their cash was missing when they returned after their historic 1-0 win over Italy on Thursday.
South Africa battles one of the world’s worst crime rates with heavily beefed up security details in place for the Confederations Cup, and the theft had heightened concerns about safety during next year’s World Cup.
On Wednesday, one of the stadiums built for the 2010 World Cup, but not being used for the Confederations Cup, was attacked by armed robbers after an international rugby match with the touring British and Irish Lions.