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Teams Look to End Locker Room Jinx

May 8, 2002

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CARDIFF, Wales (AP) _ When soccer teams kept losing in the south dressing room at the Millennium Stadium, an expert in the Chinese philosophy of feng shui was brought in.

But teams based there still kept losing and now officials at the venue have allowed a 7-foot (2.13m) high mural to be painted on the wall.

Eleven teams _ including Chelsea in Saturday’s FA Cup final _ have lost matches at the stadium after using the south dressing room. On Monday, Rushden and Diamonds failed in its third division playoff with Cheltenham Town.

Artist Andrew Vicari will use reds, yellows and earthy colors in his painting of a sun and a phoenix, which was suggested by feng shui expert Paul Darby.

In March, Darby used feng shui, the study of positioning objects, in the south dressing room. He scattered incense and sea salt around the dressing room, lit candles and performed Buddist chants.

But days later, Cambridge used the south dressing room for the LDV Vans Trophy final _ and lost 4-1 to Blackpool.

Two matches are scheduled for this weekend _ the division two playoff final between Stoke and Brentford on Saturday and the division one playoff final between Norwich and Birmingham on Sunday.

Millennium Stadium manager Bob Evans said there was no curse or jinx on the south dressing room.

``The Millennium Stadium offers a level playing field, in all senses of the phrase, to every team that plays here,″ Evans said. ``In reality there is no physical difference between the two dressing rooms and it is only a matter of time before this statistical anomaly is broken.

``But this is the greatest stadium in the world and we are prepared to go to any lengths to ensure that all teams enjoy their Millennium Stadium experience.″

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