Thu, Nov 22, 2007 - Page 20 News List

UK police question Croatia's soccer boss

AP , LONDON

The head of Croatia's soccer federation was released without charge yesterday after being accused of shoplifting at Gatwick Airport.

Zorislav Srebric, the 67-year-old general secretary of Croatia's Football Association, was arrested after his arrival on Tuesday for his country's European Championship qualifier against England.

He was questioned for allegedly stealing stationery from a WHSmith branch at the airport's South Terminal, Sussex police said. But he was later released without charge and "no further action will be taken," a police spokesman said.

The Croatia Football Federation (CFC) said that the incident was the result of a "misunderstanding."

Srebric was buying newspapers when he saw his team entering the building and hurried to get them through the airport, the CFF said.

"Police thought he was trying to avoid paying for the papers," the statement said. "Unfortunately, he was taken to a police station where they determined that it was a misunderstanding but instead of five minutes he should stay for a while because of procedure."

Croatia were to play England last night at Wembley Stadium in the final Euro 2008 qualifier for both teams. While Croatia has already qualified, England needed only a draw to advance.

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