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United in the centre of scandal

London: Manchester United football players found themselves at the centre of an unfolding sex scandal on Tuesday after a woman claimed she was raped at the hotel where the team was holding its Christmas party.

The police received a 999 call from a 26 year-old woman at Manchester’s Great John Street Hotel early this morning. She claimed she had been the victim of a sex attack.

Manchester United had hired out the entire 30-room four-star hotel for a private Christmas party, which was attended by around 150 guests.

The hotel was closed on Tuesday while police officers from the Greater Manchester Police began an inquiry into the alleged incident.

A spokesperson for the hotel said: “I can’t confirm anything. I can only say that we are helping the police with their inquiries.”

A police spokesperson said: “Police are currently investigating a report of rape at a hotel in Manchester city centre. “At about 4.15am on Tuesday December 18, 2007, police were called to the hotel on Great John Street to a report that a 26-year-old woman had been raped. Inquiries are continuing.”

The Manchester Evening News diary column reported that “the entire first team”, apart from Cristiano Ronaldo, went to the Manchester 235 Casino around lunchtime on Monday, where they were joined by two drag queens and five burlesque dancers.

THE TIMES, LONDON

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