Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Police called to football hotel row

Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio during the Barclays Premier League match St Mary's, Southampton

Police were called to an altercation which broke out at a hotel where the Sunderland football team were staying.

Manager Paolo di Canio downplayed the early-morning fracas with Southampton fans at the Solent Hotel and Spa in Whiteley, near Fareham, following today's match at St Mary's Stadium.

Officers from Hampshire Constabulary were called to the hotel just after midnight following a report of an assault involving guests at the hotel. The team were staying there ahead of their game against Southampton.

Rumours of a brawl involving more than 15 people had circulated before the match. But a police spokeswoman said officers had spoken to just three men, aged 20, 45 and 47, in relation to the incident.

She said: "A 20-year-old man from Southampton suffered a cut to his lip during the incident. All parties were spoken to and the matter was resolved by way of community resolution. No-one was arrested."

Di Canio said the altercation occurred between his staff and three drunk Southampton fans after a wedding party.

"They were only three young, drunk guys there after a wedding party that was inside the hotel," he said. It happened at midnight, as he walked out from a meeting room with his staff. His players were already in bed, he said.

"Once we were close to the lift, we heard loud people shouting. I can't repeat any of it," he said, adding "I don't think they wanted to attack us physically". Di Canio said once he and his staff had walked into the lift, the men started trying to record them using their mobile phones.

He said: "I was screaming from behind the staff and we tried to push the third floor button and they tried to stop and kept going."

He said he asked for the police to be called, but added: "It was a stupid moment from silly guys under effect of lots of alcohol... No footballers, no fight. This is the real situation and the way it happened."

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