Ten Tottenham Hotspur football players have fallen ill at the the London Marriott, West India Quay hotel on the eve of a crucial match.
A lack of top players led to a defeat against against West Ham United on Sunday, which has meant that they slipped from fourth to fifth place in the Barclays Premiership.
Daniel Levy, the Tottenham Hotspur chairman is considering taking legal action against the Marriott hotel chain if it can be proved that it was to blame for the players illness.
The five-star, 301 room hotel in Canary Wharf, like all establishments has an obligation to provide food fit for consumption, and has been cooperating with food and safety officials, as well as police.
The players arrived at the London Marriott at about 7pm on Saturday, a hotel they use for matches in East London.
They ate in a private dining room an hour later. However, by the early hours of Sunday morning, several players were vomiting.
Paul Downing, the hotel’s general manager told the Times newspaper: “I was called by someone from Tottenham at 11.15 am who said he wanted to tell us that some of the players had become ill. There was no suggestion of foul play, but he asked me whether I minded if they called the police and I said that we wouldn’t.”
“Tottenham then called the police and officers arrived at 12.30pm. In circumstances such as these in which guests become ill it is unusual that police are called, but as they are such high-profile guests, and it is a high-profile moment in their season, it is understandable.”
“We are going to do all we can to help the police with their investigation. We have not yet contacted Tower Hamlets council’s health and safety department, but will do so tomorrow. Food from the hotel will be sent off to a laboratory where tests will be done.”
He added that no other guests had reported any illness.
“Tottenham ate in a private function room. We provided them with a buffet. Our chefs and catering staff liaised with them over what was on the set menu,” added Downing.
A Scotland Yard spokeswoman told the Press Association: ‘We did attend an east London hotel. We removed some food samples as a precaution. We intend to hand these over to the appropriate agency in due course. No official allegations have been received.’’
The Daily Mirror newspaper’s headline: “SICK AS A MARRIOTT” summed up the event saying that the hotel faces legal action if a link is proved between the hotel’s food and the illness, since the team may have lost up to 500,000 pounds sterling after defeat in the football league.