Saps denies 'grilling' team

2009-06-22 10:58

Johannesburg - The SA Police Service distanced itself from reports on Monday that members of the Egyptian soccer team would be questioned following the theft of R19 500 cash from their hotel rooms.

The Star newspaper, quoting a Local Organising Committee source, said the police were due to question the team following weekend reports that the money was stolen by women partying in the team members' rooms.

"The South African Police Service hereby distances itself from claims by an anonymous source that detectives are poised to interrogate members of a soccer team taking part in the FIFA Confederations Cup," said police spokesperson Director Sally de Beer.

"The South African Police Service is currently investigating claims that money was stolen out of hotel rooms occupied by various members of the Egyptian team.

"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," said De Beer.

She said a "thorough and comprehensive investigation" was continuing and the police would not comment on the merits of the case until the probe had been concluded.

The "sensationalism, speculation and rumours" around the case were "unseemly", she added.

Members of the Egyptian soccer team had about R19 500 ($2 400) stolen from their Johannesburg hotel rooms on Thursday night, reports said.

The team discovered that five of the players' rooms at the Protea Hotel Wanderers in Illovo had been broken into after returning to the hotel following their 1-0 victory over Italy in a Confederations Cup match, Beeld newspaper reported on Friday.

Several media reports have suggested that the players may have been robbed by prostitutes during or after a party.