'Suspicious' Ukraine Footballers Turned Away From Harrods

LONDON, England -- Footballers from Ukrainian team Shakhtar Donetsk said they were refused entry to London's Harrods store which is owned by tycoon Mohamed Al Fayed, ahead of a match Thursday against his team Fulham.

London's Harrods

The players, in the British capital for the Europa League clash, tried to go into the upmarket shop Tuesday but staff turned them away saying their group looked "too big and suspicious."

"The players decided to increase the earnings of one of London's reputable shops -- Harrods," said Shakhtar Donetsk's website.

"You may be surprised, but the (team) weren't allowed to enter the shop. The staff said that the group was too big and suspicious. All of them were wearing similar tracksuits.

"The players explained that this was the football team and they had no habit of taking tuxedos to the training camp to go shopping.

"But those explanations were fruitless."

They ended up buying gifts in a different shop, said the team.

Harrods said the store had been busy and the footballers were turned away over "health and safety" concerns.

"There are periods, when the store is at its busiest, that Harrods has to take the difficult decision to deny access to tour parties," a spokesman told the BBC.

"This is done in the interest of health and safety."

He added: "Needless to say, we do not wish to offend or upset visitors when making these decisions."

Fulham Football Club owner Fayed, who is Egyptian, is the father of Dodi Fayed, the lover of Diana, princess of Wales. They were killed in the same 1997 Paris car crash.

Source: AFP