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UK reporter 'staged incident'

2010-06-29 18:08

Johannesburg - British journalist Simon Wright, 44, was released on R3 000 bail after his arrest in connection with a security breach in the England soccer team's dressing room, police said on Tuesday.

Police arrested Wright on Monday and charged him with defeating the ends of justice and contravening the Immigration Act.

He is allegedly linked to the incident where Londoner Pavlos Joseph entered the English team's dressing room in Cape Town after a match on June 18.

Sally De Beer said Wright was granted bail when he appeared in the dedicated World Cup court in Cape Town at 11:00 on Monday.

He was due back in court on Wednesday.

Wright had surrendered his passport as part of his bail conditions, she said. He also had to report daily to the Cape Town police station and he could not go to the Bay Hotel or contact any employee there.

Police believe Joseph's entry to the dressing room was a plot "orchestrated" with Wright to paint World Cup security in a bad light.

This was according to national police commissioner General Bheki Cele who addressed the media on World Cup security in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Incident orchestrated

"The police have reason to believe that this incident was orchestrated and involved the co-operation of a number of individuals," said Cele.

Video footage obtained during an initial investigation backed the theory.

It was alleged that Wright harboured British fan Pavlos Joseph by booking him into a hotel, allegedly using false or incorrect particulars, and interviewed him after he wandered in the team's dressing room claiming to be looking for a toilet.

"The police strongly believe the motive was to put the World Cup security in a bad light and possibly to profit from the act," Cele said.

Joseph has twice appeared in World Cup courts for contravening the Fifa World Cup SA Special Measures Act.

He was granted bail of R500, his passport was confiscated by the police and he was banned from attending any more soccer matches. He is due to appear in court again on Tuesday.

After the incident, the Sunday Mirror reported that when Joseph saw former England captain David Beckham in the change rooms, he said he needed the toilet, then added: "David, we've spent a lot of money getting here. This is a disgrace. What are you going to do about it?"

England had drawn 0-0 with Algeria.

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