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Last Updated: Monday, 6 August 2007, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
Footballers go missing in Denmark
Players from Burundi taking part in the Homeless World Cup in Denmark
Danish police say the men will be arrested and deported if found
Fifteen footballers who took part in the Homeless World Cup in Denmark have left their teams and gone missing, police and organisers say.

Seven of the missing players are from Burundi, four from Liberia, three from Cameroon and one from Afghanistan.

The men had entry visas that expired on Monday. Danish police say they will be arrested and deported if found.

The Liberian team managed to win third place in the tournament despite having lost four of its players.

The men may already have left Denmark as their visas allowed them to travel within the 15 European countries in the Schengen borderless travel area, Danish immigration authorities say.

The Homeless World Cup is an annual competition that aims to use football as a way to maximise social impact for the players involved - socially excluded, homeless people and people living in poverty.

Five hundred players from 48 countries took part in this year's tournament, which was held on miniature pitches in the Danish capital, Copenhagen.

The organisers said they were "upset and angry" at the players' disappearance.

"This is our fifth tournament and we've never had this experience before," said Kat Byles, a spokeswoman for the Homeless World Cup.

"We want to review the situation and put new measures in place to ensure this doesn't affect the positive impact of the tournament."

Next year's tournament takes place in Melbourne, Australia.

Scotland win Homeless World Cup
05 Aug 07 |  Scotland

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