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Page last updated at 08:04 GMT, Tuesday, 1 September 2009 09:04 UK

Gold rejects Croatia 'conspiracy'

Luka Modric
Modric broke his leg after being tackled by Birmingham's Lee Bowyer

Birmingham owner David Gold has laughed off claims by the Croatian Football Federation that English players have deliberately injured their players.

Last year Arsenal striker Eduardo broke his leg against Birmingham and on Saturday Tottenham's Croatian playmaker Luka Modric suffered the same fate.

"To suggest it's a conspiracy, particularly by our club, is absolutely ridiculous," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"I can't see an ounce of reality about it at all - I find it nonsensical."

Croatia had already ended England's chances of qualifying for the 2008 European Championship when a challenge by Birmingham's Martin Taylor broke Eduardo's leg and dislocated his ankle.

The Arsenal player was out for 12 months and as a result, missed playing in Euro 2008.

England and Croatia were then drawn again in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, and meet at Wembley next week in a match which could possibly confirm England's place at the finals.

And Croatian Football Federation president Vlatko Markovic thinks the timing of Modric's injury is no coincidence.

"It is terrible what has happened to us," he said.

"Maybe someone has something against us and our national team. In the past year, they [English footballers] have injured Eduardo and now the same has happened to Luka Modric.

"I can only ask whether someone did it deliberately on the eve of the game with England. I can only ask myself whether it is a coincidence or not."

Maybe the problem is the statement has been completely lost in translation, maybe he meant to say something different

David Gold

Gold said the suggestion that Lee Bowyer's challenge on Modric was part of a conspiracy was "so ridiculous it beggars belief".

"I was at the game and I was only a few feet away from the incident and it was a very mild entanglement," he said.

"Modric was outstanding in that game so no wonder they're disappointed at losing him, but to say there a conspiracy is nonsense.

"We should make light of it - maybe the problem is the statement has been completely lost in translation, maybe he meant to say something different."

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see also
Capello recalls Crouch and Lennon
30 Aug 09 |  Internationals
Spurs suffer Modric injury blow
30 Aug 09 |  Tottenham
Tottenham 2-1 Birmingham
29 Aug 09 |  Premier League
Netherlands 2-2 England
12 Aug 09 |  Internationals
England 2-1 Ukraine
01 Apr 09 |  Internationals
England 4-0 Slovakia
28 Mar 09 |  Internationals
Eduardo intent on swift recovery
24 Feb 08 |  Premier League
Hansen on Eduardo's injury
24 Feb 08 |  Premier League
Birmingham 2-2 Arsenal
23 Feb 08 |  Premier League

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