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BBC Wales's Nick Palit
"Speaking through his agent, Dai Thomas continued to deny any involvement in anything untoward."
 real 56k

Wednesday, 2 August, 2000, 20:11 GMT 21:11 UK
Cardiff player Euro 2000 arrest inquiry
Dai Thomas
Dai Thomas arriving at a Belgian detention centre
Belgian Police have said a Cardiff City footballer was arrested and claimed he was then deported from Brussels following crowd trouble during Euro 2000.

Cardiff City Football Club has launched an immediate inquiry after new video footage revealed Dai Thomas in the midst of a violent mob of English hooligans.

Dai Thomas
Thomas emerges from Le Fiacre bar

The Bluebirds striker said he was "caught up in a sweep" by the police and "did not believe that I was arrested at any time".

He went on: "I can confirm that I was not deported from Belgium but in fact made my own way home.

"I have always been concerned to protect the good name of the club and as I have said before, I will continue to co-operate fully with any further investigation which may be launched by my club."

Dai Thomas, 25, played for Swansea and Watford before joining Cardiff City.

Dai Thomas
Caerphilly-born Thomas playing for Cardiff City

The player's travels also took him to Euro 2000 this summer allegedly as a supporter.

But previously unseen footage shows Thomas doing far more than more ordinary fans in Brussels.

He can be seen at the back of a group as thugs attack a young north African man in the street.

He is then seen taking a much more central role as hooligans taunt Belgian police.

In a later stand-off the Caerphilly-born Cardiff player also encouraged a chorus of "England, England".

Steve Borley
Cardiff City Chairman Steve Borley

Mr Thomas had denied any involvement in the Euro 2000 troubles - a stance up until now, supported by his club.

"It is a serious matter," said Cardiff City Chairman Steve Borley.

"But we can only act on information we've got. South Wales Police hasn't provided us with that information."

And when asked, Mr Borley said Mr Thomas was denying any involvement with any trouble. But the evidence appears overwhelming.

At one stage, Thomas can be seen trying to remove a metal barrier. It was this, and three hours into the troubles, that police finally lost patience.

Christian de Coninck
Begian police spokesman Christian de Coninck

They pursued the so-called fans to the now notorious Le Fiacre bar. Thomas can be seen emerging from the building removing his shirt and was among dozens of men arrested. He was later sent home.

"The man I've seen on the film was definitely arrested," said Brussels Police spokesman Christian de Coninck.

"And all those people arrested that evening were brought to a regional detention centre from where they were deported to the UK."

Officials at Cardiff City's ground Ninian Park have so far supported Dai Thomas and his denials that he is a football hooligan.

Now the club says they are reconsidering their position in light of the new evidence.

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