Six Leicester City players, including Scottish internationals Paul Dickov and Matt Elliott, were told last night that they must remain in custody following allegations of sexual assault at the Spanish resort of La Manga.

Keith Gillespie, Lilian Nalis, Frank Sinclair, James Scowcroft, Dickov and Elliott are expected to appear in court again today.

Three other players were released following a day-long court hearing at nearby Cartagena. Steffan Freund was released without charge while Nikos Dabizas and Danny Coyne were provisionally released to have their cases heard today.

Tim Davies, the club's chief executive, said: ''It has come as a tremendous shock to all our players. They are vigorously denying everything.''

After the statement Micky Adams, Leicester manager, said he did not wish to comment but said: ''I am devastated.''

The players, who were on a warm weather training break on the Costa del Sol, are alleged to have forced their way into a hotel room where three women claimed they were sexually assaulted.

The alleged victims, all German tourists, were found to have injuries to various parts of their body when examined by doctors at Alicante General Hospital, said the police.

The incident is the latest sex scandal involving football in recent months and is the second time Leicester City have made headlines while staying at the exclusive La Manga resort.

Nine players were arrested on Wednesday after the women complained to police on Monday, police said.

Four were arrested for sexual assault and breaking and entering, one for assault and breaking and entering, and three for breaking and entering and leaving a crime scene without offering assistance.

The ninth, Freund, the German midfielder, was earlier released after being questioned over leaving a crime scene without offering assistance.

Elliott, who last played for Scotland in 2001, was arrested in connection with breaking and entering and leaving a crime scene without offering assistance, Sinclair with sexual assault and breaking and entering, and Coyne with breaking and entering and leaving a crime scene without offering assistance.

It is understood Dickov faced allegations of sexual aggression and entering the hotel room.

The women had been intending to return to Germany, but were persuaded by police to remain in the country to be interviewed, police said.

As well as their injuries, the three women gave the police a bracelet, which was apparently broken by one of the aggressors, as well as torn underpants.

The women separately identified by photograph the footballers alleged to have carried out the assaults.

According to an account given by a member of the hotel staff, the footballers had arrived that night apparently drunk and fighting among themselves and other customers.

The rest of the squad cut short the trip and flew back to England on Wednesday.

Leicester City issued a statement which said: ''The club is co-operating fully with the authorities in their investigations but, as these investigations are still ongoing, is not in a position to make any further comment at this stage.''