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Players Abroad of Wednesday, 20 February 2008


Essien escapes 'poison' attack

Ghana midfielder Michael Essien has escaped a 'poison' attack at Chelsea's training ground in England.

The 25-year-old was in Greece for his team's Champions League match against Olympiakos on Tuesday when a parcel arrived at Chelsea's training ground in Cobham.

A Chelsea staff member opened the package and found a note to coach Avram Grant claiming that an accompanying amount of powder was lethal.

Local police closed the training ground before the powder was tested and found to be harmless.

Grant would normally open the parcel just before training but for their visit to the Greek capital.

If the substance was harmful, Essien and his team-mates could have been affected even though Chelsea have hi-tech security protecting their players at the training ground.

A note accompanying the white powder was found to contain anti-Jewish insults for the coach who is an Israeli Jew.

A police source said it used the words: "When you open this letter you will die a very slow and painful death."

The letter also included threats to the manager's wife Tzofit, a well-known personality in Israel.

A spokesman for Surrey Police said: "We were called to Chelsea's training ground at Cobham at 12.15pm yesterday after they received a suspicious package."

The club's training ground at Cobham, Surrey was sealed off while investigations were carried out.

Detectives are continuing to try to identify the source of the package.

Chelsea Football Club has so far made no comment.