North Korea protested to world governing body FIFA on Sunday that they were the victims of a South Korean plot which caused them to lose a World Cup qualifier 1-0 to their rivals in Seoul last week. The North Korean FA said in a statement that their players' food had been tampered with and that the referee was biased. "The match thus turned into a theatre of plot-breeding and swindling," the statement said. "It is as clear as noonday that it was a product of (South Korean President) Lee Myung-bak group's moves for confrontation with the DPRK (North Korea) and a deliberate behaviour bred by the unsavoury forces instigated by it." The statement said FIFA should "examine the whole process of the match and take appropriate measures" and called on South Korean authorities "to own full responsibility for such serious incidents and promptly make an apology". No one from FIFA was immediately available to comment. The North Korean statement said key players had suffered vomiting, diarrhoea and headaches the night before the match. "It can be said that it was beyond all doubt that the incident was a product of a deliberate act perpetrated by adulterated foodstuff as they could not get up all of a sudden just before the match," it said. They also accused Omani referee Abdullah al-Hilali of denying them an early goal which they say should have stood. South Korea won the game with a late goal from Kim Chi-woo. The victory lifted them into first place in the group with 11 points from five matches, ahead of North Korea and Saudi Arabia who both have 10 points from six matches. The top two in the group will qualify for the next year's World Cup finals in South Africa, while the third-placed team will try to advance through playoffs. South Korea are bidding to reach their seventh successive finals, while North Korea have made the finals only once, in England in 1966.
5 April 2009
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