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Sex case players' boss offered to go.

Byline: By Jacqui Walls

Three Premiership footballers are still in a Spanish jail today as their manager admitted yesterday that he had offered his resignation in the "darkest days" of the past week.

Leicester City boss Micky Adams insisted his players were "innocent until proven guilty" as the judge in Spain took legal papers home last night to consider their bid for freedom following allegations of rape.

Adams, 42, said the players had drunk too much on their training break in the exclusive La Manga resort, but he knew some of those arrested were "not there" when the alleged offences took place.

The lawyer for the three alleged victims said yesterday that Paul Dickov, Keith Gillespie and Frank Sinclair stood no chance of being bailed unless new evidence emerged to put the women's claims in doubt.

Encarnacion Gomez opposed the bail application made by the players at a court in Cartagena.

She said two of the players had restrained one of the women while a third raped her.

She told the hearing that her clients had never had any consenting sexual relations with the Leicester players. The case for bail, which has been taken over by senior judge Jacinto Areste, is expected to be resolved by the end of the week.

The players were last night in Sangonera Jail, near the town of Murcia.

They were taken there on Friday following a hearing over the alleged incident at the five-star Hyatt Regency Hotel.

They have swapped their pounds 10,000 to pounds 15,000-a-week lifestyles for 60 euros a week (pounds 40) spending money and their meals in prison include rice and rabbit.

Back in Leicester, Adams told a Press conference at the club's Walkers Stadium: "A minority of players let the club down but if they are guilty of anything it is of being unprofessional - of being drunk to excess.

"I know that some of the players who were charged were not there. I have witnesses to prove that.

"Nine people were arrested but some of them were not there.

"It has been a difficult time for me, but I am not quitting. I owe it to the fans of Leicester City to see this through.

"I did consider it. I felt I had a moral obligation to say to the board and the chairman that if they felt I wasn't the right man to take this club forward I would step down.

"Fortunately they said I was the right man for the job. That gives me strength."

Six players released last week by Spanish authorities investigating the case returned to the training ground in Leicester yesterday for the first time.

Matt Elliott, Steffen Freund, Lilian Nalis, Danny Coyne, Nikos Dabizas and James Scowcroft joined the rest of the team to continue their relegation battle.

Leicester East MP Keith Vaz, who has offered to act as guarantor if the players are granted bail, went to the Foreign Office yesterday with Leicester City chief executive Tim Davies for a meeting.

After half an hour with the Foreign Secretary, Mr Vaz said: "He has reassured us that the Foreign Office is doing everything it possibly can to assist the players and their legal representatives, as they would for other British citizens in this position."
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 9, 2004
Words:543
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