Euro 2004

France may be favourites with the fans, but players’ wives and girlfriends will have to make do without their heroes, as sex has been banned days in advance of any match. Coach Jacques Santini will only allow family reunions after the group stage has been successfully completed. David Beckham (aka Goldenballs), on the other hand, is free to see ‘his’ Victoria between training sessions, as England impose no such rules. Group rivals Croatia (who have banned all gay players) are also relatively relaxed about female company, although team doctor Zoran Balitijaveric has warned his temperamental squad that “acrobatic and dangerous positions should be avoided to limit the risk of serious injuries…”

The Russian and Italian players are equally free to play. A Russian spokesman quoted the country’s democratic constitution as the basis for the decision, whereas Italy’s Giovanni Trapattoni has limited ‘extra time’ to one hour a day. The Greeks, Czechs and Latvians also benefit from liberal policies.

Less fortunate, for various reasons, are the Swedes, Spaniards, Portuguese, Dutch, Bulgarians and Germans! Arsenal’s Freddy Ljungberg, who models Calvin Klein underwear, once admitted to losing all feeling in his feet after a night of passion.

Obviously, Sweden’s coach Lars Lagerback took this potentially disastrous impediment into consideration when banning all nocturnal activity. Holland’s ban follows a catfight last time the Dutch footballers’ wives were allowed into the camp.

Portugal and Spain say they simply have their players’ fitness at heart and Bulgarian chastity is enforced – its cash-strapped FA refused to pay for wives and girlfriends to travel. Lastly, Germany’s reasons seem more sado-masochistic. The announcement of a ban on booze and sex was accompanied by the sinister by-line that, “we have a system of internal punishment”! Only the next three weeks will show who will score most goals…