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Sat Nov 01 07:28:29 SAST 2014

Man Utd 'scout' is a big fraud

NASHIRA DAVIDS | 04 October, 2012 00:23
Children playing football
Image by: THIERRY GOUEGNON

Manchester United has warned South African parents about a scam calling on children to join its soccer school.

A fraudulent e-mail, which has been in circulation for weeks, offers youngsters the chance to participate free or for a fee, depending on "the time of registration".

"Manchester United Football Academy is offering 400 boys and girls aged 8-18 years from over different countries [sic] to [come to] our hugely popular residential facility in the heart of the English countryside," the e-mail reads.

The four-year package includes visas, airfare and accommodation. And graduates would qualify for "further opportunities" with the academy.

Raphael Scot is listed as the contact person. Despite several calls and e-mails to the provided telephone number and e-mail address, he could not be reached.

The British club, which has a massive fan base in South Africa, has issued a warning to parents not to be duped.

"This e-mail has been unlawfully using the Manchester United Soccer Schools brand name and crest without the consent of this company or its affiliates. Any e-mails received from '@manutdopportunities.uk.mn', should be disregarded as they contain this false and dishonest information," its statement reads.

"A serious investigation has been launched into uncovering the source of this e-mail and further action will be taken to stop the perpetrators from spreading detrimental messages. We apologise for any confusion this message may have caused."

The club did not indicate how many parents had been taken in by the scam, and Western Cape police said they were not aware of it.

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