Hotel staff steal England shirts, medals and underwear

"We have been waiting to see them - and we wish them good luck on the pitch," said a member of staff at England's Rustenburg base camp, pictured above, when the team arrived before the World Cup. Not every worker at the state-of-the-art Fortress of Boredom, however, shared this respect and enthusiasm for the Three Lions: it has emerged that a group of hotel cleaning staff stole shirts, medals and underwear from Capello's men last week. Yahoo! Sports reports:

Cleaning staff at the luxury hotel where England stayed during the World Cup stole football shirts, a medal and even underwear from players, police said Monday.

Police spokeswoman Junior Metsi said cash was taken - about 500 pounds (about $750). The thieves seemed interested in souvenirs, such as a United States shirt an England player received in the customary post-match trade. A medal awarded by FIFA and underwear also disappeared in a spree police say began June 21.

Not only is it worrying that there is a black-market demand for purloined men's underwear, but it seems odd that a medal awarded by FIFA was taken. Either someone is vain/insecure enough to travel with their honors in their baggage at all times, or football's governing body are now handing out a 'Third Most Disappointing European Team at a World Cup' award.

The story continues:

The thefts were not reported to police until Saturday. Metsi said police solved the case within a day, searching the homes of staff at the hotel near Rustenburg, northwest of Johannesburg.

"Everything that was stolen was recovered and they (the thieves) are now behind bars," she said.

On Sunday, a special World Cup court convicted five hotel workers of the thefts. They were sentenced to three years in prison and fined 6,000 rand (about $800).

I don't like the sound of this 'special World Cup court.' Not only is it ruthlessly efficient (outside of Back to the Future Part II, few crimes go from investigation to court case to prison sentence over the course of a weekend) but it's clearly the first step in FIFA's attempts to establish itself as a separate rogue state which will eventually rule the world. At the moment, they're cracking down on naughty hotel cleaners and attractive Dutch ladies who have the audacity to promote non-official brands, but it won't be long before they start punishing anyone anyone who questions Emporer Blatter's anti-technology mandate ...

Image: Reuters

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