Chinese spies lurk behind two-way mirror at Women's World Cup
The IOC Ethics Committee has refused to investigate complaints that FIFA president Sepp Blatter, an IOC member, allowed Chinese officials to get away with a campaign of harassment against women players at the World Cup last year.
The incidents, aimed at disrupting preparations by the Danish team for their game against China culminated in officials attempting to secretly video the women through a two-way mirror.
China’s first game in the tournament last September was against the highly-ranked Danes. Midfielder Anne Dot Eggers said, ‘Chinese officials were videoing our league games in Denmark earlier in the year. That’s OK but when we arrived at our training pitch in Wuhan the grass hadn’t been cut – and never was.
‘Something new happened every day and you started thinking, this is not normal. One morning we arrived to find a hole a metre wide had been dug in the middle of the pitch.’
Anne, a veteran of more than 100 international matches, continued, ‘At one practice session a brass band arrived at the edge of the pitch. They played drums and trumpets so loudly we couldn’t hear our coach’s instructions.’
The team’s training sessions were open to the public – except for the final one. ‘We were practicing set-pieces when we spotted a man filming us from a block of flats,’ said Anne. ‘We got FIFA officials to move him. Then we spotted a second guy filming us rehearsing corner kicks. FIFA didn’t do anything so we stopped practicing and just ran around giving him the finger.’
The day before their game with China they planned a tactics talk in a seminar room at the Howard Johnson hotel. ‘Our officials saw a black mirror on the back wall and were joking, do you think something is going on in there?’ recalled Anne.
They looked hard and saw movement. The hotel manager was called to unlock the door and inside were two men with video cameras.
‘They tried to get out with their cameras and had to be held back by our officials. Then policemen turned up and got the two guys away. It seemed they were protecting them.’
But the Danish women had their own video camera – and caught the embarrassed spies on tape shouting ‘No camera, no camera.’
It was a tough game. China took a two-goal lead, Anne pulled one back with her head in the 51st minute and in the closing minutes referee Dianne Ferreira-James from Guyana, nominated by FIFA vice-president Jack Warner’s regional confederation, handed out two yellow cards to the Danes. They pulled equal in the 87th minute, only to be beaten by another Chinese shot a minute later.
Danish coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller refused to shake hands with China’s coach after the game. He refused to say why, adding, ‘We have made an official complaint to FIFA about things that happened prior to the match.’
That didn’t do him any good. FIFA spokesman Nicolas Maingot announced that Heiner-Moller was suspended for the two remaining Danish games - later he was reinstated for their final match against Brazil.