Spain deny 'strip-poker' claims
The Spanish FA has angrily denied Brazilian media claims of alcohol-fuelled strip-poker games at the team hotel after their side's opening Confederations Cup game against Uruguay.
Reports filtered out last week that money had been taken from the rooms of some Spanish players during, stories which were subsequently denied by the Spain's head of security Raul Jimenez and the Golden Tulip Recife Palace hotel's manager Eduardo Barbosa.
Brazilian website Globoesporte then claimed - under the headline "Sex, Lies & Videotape" - that the Spain squad had invited a samba band to their hotel to celebrate their 2-1 victory against Uruguay "with music, caipirinhas, beer and women". The story said that five players and a staff member later retired to a hotel room for a private game of strip-poker, and it was only the next morning, when their guests left, that the players noticed the money was missing.
The Spanish FA reacted quickly and angrily to these reports, releasing a strong statement, confirming that a burglary had taken place, but denying the Globoesporte allegations.
"The Real Federacion Espanola de Futbol denies completely the news spread by a Brazilian media outlet and that infringe upon the good name of the Spanish national side and the honorability and professionalism of its players," the statement said. "Six players of the national team were the subject of a burglary in the team hotel in Recife during the Spain-Uruguay game. This fact was duly reported to the Brazilian police. Later there has emerged a series of allegations about our players, which the RFEF completely denies and repudiates, deeply, because they damage the honour of the players and their families and friends."
Speaking later on Monday evening, La Roja centre-half Gerard Pique said the stories were "lies" and he was confident the RFEF would sort it all out.
"The federation has taken control of the situation," Pique told COPE's radio show El Partido de las 12. "It is all lies. It is very hard to make life difficult for others. It is a very unpleasant and unfortunate experience. It will be sorted out. Lies always come out into the light."
Asked why the hotel would deny any robbery had taken place, Pique suggested it was trying to protect its own reputation.
"I guess they do not want to come out and accept it," he said. "To be in a hotel and a robbery to take place is very unpleasant."