Inside Lampard and Ferdinand’s Ayia Napa sex tape scandal after Euro 2000 snub
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England manager Gareth Southgate is set to confirm his 26-man squad for Euro 2020 on Tuesday, with a selection of stars from the Premier League and beyond sure to miss out.
Euro 2020 – which was postponed by 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic – kicks off on June 11, with England drawn opposite Croatia, Scotland and the Czech Republic in Group D.
Being part of the international tournament could make or break this summer for many in contention, and it won’t be the first time the Three Lions have been forced to leave top talent behind.
Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Kieron Dyer were among those who missed out on Kevin Keegan’s squad for Euro 2000, leading to one of England’s most controversial summers.
But instead of those on the pitch making headlines, it was a booze-fuelled holiday to Ayia Napa that saw some of those left out splashed across the back pages.
Dyer – now the under-23s manager at boyhood club Ipswich Town – once recounted the details of that trip to the south coast of Cyprus in a Daily Mail column: “It felt like every Premier League player who hadn’t made the Euros was in Ayia Napa that summer.”
Ferdinand and Lampard were both still on the books at West Ham at the time, though bigger transfers to Leeds and Chelsea respectively beckoned. Dyer, meanwhile, had just finished his first season in the Premier League with Newcastle.
All three players were 21 when Euro 2000 kicked off, and Dyer remembered the combination of sun, sea and newfound fame had explicit consequences: “We could have slept with three girls a day if we wanted to.”
According to Dyer, a camcorder was brought along by Ferdinand’s friends before some of the more ‘intimate’ moments of the trip were captured.
He said one of Ferdinand's pals came into the room and began filming without his consent.
Dyer said: "When we realised, I jumped off the girl and told the guy to get lost. It was completely wrong. The girl was mortified. I apologised profusely and took her to get a taxi back to her hotel."
But he added another group consented to being filmed having sex after “Rio and Frank and a couple of others took some girls back to their room".
The camcorder purportedly never came home, however, after someone in charge of it was held at knifepoint and forced to hand the camera over.
Dyer returned to his native Ipswich unaware of the furore that emerged following what was found on the tapes: “On Sunday, I asked my mum to get me a paper to see what they had said about the fight. She had a face like thunder when she got back and threw a copy of the News of the World at me. ‘You’re an embarrassment,’ she said. I stared at the front page and suddenly everything became clear.
"The paper had got footage of some of the sex sessions in Ayia Napa, including where the guy sneaked into my room.
"‘England Stars in Video Sex Shame,’ the headline said. It was spun that the girls had been duped into being filmed when actually, in the case of the girls who got together with Frank and Rio, it had been done with their consent.
"I would never deny that the way I behaved wasn’t exactly ideal. I wasn’t proud of it."
England failed to get out of their group at Euro 2000, finishing third behind Portugal and Romania as Keegan’s men fell at the first hurdle.
It’s alleged the sex tape events unfurled during celebrations after England’s sole win of the tournament, a 1-0 victory over Germany thanks to Alan Shearer’s intervention.
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Ferdinand later said in his autobiography: "I had sex with one girl, which was taped with her consent, and that was it.
"OK, I've played up to the camera a bit, but she knew it was on and it didn't bother her."
Football has evolved in the 21 years since those events, and any England players unlucky enough to miss Southgate’s squad will be expected to go about their summer holidays in a more modest manner.
Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold could be one of the most high-profile omissions as the England manager looks to cut seven names from his provisional 33-man squad.
READ MORE: Man Utd star Mason Greenwood withdraws from England Euro 2020 squad due to injury
READ MORE: Wayne Rooney makes Rebekah vs Coleen admission in "surprise" plea to Jamie Vardy
- Euro 2020
- England Football Team
- Frank Lampard
- Rio Ferdinand
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