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North Korea has accused rival South Korea of poisoning its players with “adulterated foodstuff” ahead of last week’s World Cup qualifier and FIFA to investigate the claim.

The North’s association also claimed that the alleged food-poisoning is part of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s “moves for confrontation” with the North.

North Korea coach Kim Jong Hun had raised the allegation after losing 1-0 to South Korea on April 1.

“It was beyond all doubt that the incident was a product of a deliberate act perpetrated by adulterated foodstuff as they could not get up all of a sudden just before the match,” a statement from the North said.

Kim had asked for the match to be delayed and moved to a neutral venue, claiming three of his players had food poisoning, but FIFA turned down the request. The Korea Football Association, the South’s federation, said a professional sports doctor had examined the North Korean players and found no serious problem. More detailed examinations, including blood tests, were refused.

“The Korea Football Association is only responsible for the matter of safety in training grounds and the stadium and thus cannot officially comment on matters outside of its scope,” Lee Won-jae, KFA’s head of public relations, said.

The North’s association also renewed a complaint about the decision of the referee not to award a goal early in the second half of Wednesday’s game, claiming star striker Jong Tae-se’s header crossed the goal line before it was saved. Television replays were inconclusive.

“The match thus turned into a theater of plot-breeding and swindling,” said the statement, carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency. “It is as clear as noonday that it was a product of the Lee Myung Bak group’s moves for confrontation with the DPRK and a deliberate behavior bred by the unsavory forces instigated by it.”

South Korea’s win put the 2002 World Cup semi-finalists top of Group B in Asian qualifying with 11 points, one point ahead of North Korea in the five-team group.

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