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Football Association probes England security breach

Fabio Capello
The recording is the latest incident to hit Capello's World Cup plans

The Football Association is looking into a security breach after a tape emerged purporting to carry discussions between England coaches and players.

The recording, allegedly made at the England hotel as the squad prepared for last week's friendly with Egypt, has been offered to media outlets.

And it is unclear whether it was obtained through a bugging device or by the intercepting of phone calls.

It is the latest distraction in the build-up to this summer's World Cup.

The recording, believed to be several hours long, is alleged to contain conversations between coaching staff and players at the Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire ahead of the 3-1 victory over Egypt at Wembley last Wednesday.

The FA's solicitors have written to news outlets to state the recording was obtained illicitly and that any publication of its contents would be a breach of Press Complaints Commission rules.

Capello received sympathy from Sir Alex Ferguson, whose Manchester United side were the victims of a similar breach in 2005.

It's a nightmare for Capello, when you think about what he has had to deal with in recent weeks

BBC sports news correspondent Gordon Farquhar

Listening devices were found in the home dressing room at Old Trafford after a crunch encounter against Chelsea.

"It happened to us once before," Ferguson said. "I would be concerned about it. You have to be.

"Preparation involves discretion and secrecy. I haven't revealed one bit of my tactics ahead of the match tomorrow. I haven't been asked. And do you know why?

"Because I wouldn't tell anyone. Why should I tell anyone?

"Capello may have been discussing some important issues about his team. All of a sudden someone else has got it. It is a concern."

The incident comes in the wake of the furore over reports surrounding Chelsea and England defender John Terry's private life.

Terry allegedly had an affair with Vanessa Perroncel, the former girlfriend of ex-Blues team-mate Wayne Bridge, who is now at Manchester City.

Chelsea skipper Terry was subsequently stripped of the England captaincy by national manager Fabio Capello, while Bridge announced he did not want to be considered for international duty, thereby ruling himself out of the World Cup plans.

Ashley Cole
Ashley Cole is Capello's biggest injury concern for the World Cup

"It's a nightmare for Capello, when you think about what he has had to deal with in recent weeks, particularly the way in which his team has been affected by the John Terry and Wayne Bridge affair," said BBC sports news correspondent Gordon Farquhar.

"Having got off quite lightly early on, the spotlight finally fell on him over Terry and he is finally beginning to realise how the media in this country can work."

Meanwhile, England and other countries at this summer's World Cup in South Africa have been promised 24-hour surveillance at their hotels.

At a recent summit held by football's world governing body Fifa, the 2010 Organising Committee informed security chiefs from every country about their planned security measures.

Teams will have their own training bases - England's is at Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus near Rustenburg - then will stay at "Venue Specific Team Hotels" before matches.

At those hotels, Fifa has promised that "the security services will monitor the floors occupied by the team on a 24-hour basis" and "cameras will be installed in the passages of the dedicated floors of the hotel".

Fifa has also given reassurances about travel to and from matches, saying: "Team buses will be checked and cleared on site by the South African Police Service Explosives Unit before each journey."



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see also
Bugs linger in sport's murky side
09 Mar 10 |  Football
World Cup beyond England - Hurst
06 Mar 10 |  World Cup 2010
England 3-1 Egypt
03 Mar 10 |  Football
Terry will not lead under Capello
28 Feb 10 |  Football
Bridge turns back on England team
25 Feb 10 |  Football
England's tale of World Cup injury woe
12 Feb 10 |  Football
World Cup doubt over Ashley Cole
13 Feb 10 |  Chelsea
Bugging claims probed by Man Utd
12 Nov 05 |  Man Utd


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