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Family of team captain asks him not to play

Updated: August 21, 2002, 7:11 PM ET
Reuters

BELFAST -- Northern Ireland manager Sammy McIlroy said that Neil Lennon, the victim of a paramilitary death threat, decided not to play in his country's friendly against Cyprus on Wednesday after taking advice from his family.

McIlroy informed Lennon of the threat which was telephoned to a Belfast newsroom accompanied by a recognized codeword and said the player's first instinct was to contact his family.

On consultation, the player decided to withdraw from the game with the full backing ...

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