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Oct, 4, 2012

Rayo none the wiser on floodlight mystery

Rayo Vallecano president Raul Martin Presa says the identities of the vandals who caused the postponement of last month's La Liga game against Real Madrid by cutting floodlight cables at the Estadio Vallecas remain unknown but that security at the stadium has been tightened to prevent any further incidents of sabotage.

The game, due to be played September 23, was postponed when it was discovered an hour before kick-off that 12 of the ground's power cabinets had been damaged, taking 57 floodlights out of action and sparking a public row between officials of both clubs and the Spanish league authorities. After repairs were quickly carried out the match was played the following evening without further drama and Jose Mourinho's side won 2-0.

At the time Presa blamed "football terrorists" and called their actions "an outrage". He also hinted that rogue Rayo fans were to blame, and said local police would stop at nothing to uncover them. Supporters groups angrily dismissed these allegations and the Madrid media have since reported that disaffected former club employees were more likely culprits, and that current staff were no longer trusted with keys to the stadium's entrances.

"Unfortunately there is no new news on the investigation," Presa said at a press conference in Vallecas on Thursday. "The police have their line of work and we expect they will advance. They know how they must operate and at the moment are doing so in secret."

The businessman, 35, said that significant improvements had been made to the ground's security infrastructure in the last fortnight.

"We have reinforced the entry points, changed all the locks in the stadium, have put in place new security controls and we will protect the stadium with 24 hour cameras," Presa said. "The objective is to reinforce the security so that nobody else can get in through any gap. We must take the maximum precautions, but at the moment the stadium is completely secure. Everything is being watched and we are very attentive."

Rayo were beaten 6-1 at Real Valladolid last weekend. They play Deportivo la Coruna in La Liga on Saturday, in their first home game since the incident. In a gesture of acknowledgement for the good behaviour of fans on the evening of the postponed game, club members can purchase extra tickets for Saturday's match for a cut-price €9.95.

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