The Morning Call (Sunday)

EPL virus issues deepen with party

Keeping an eye on the world of sports during the pandemic:

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Just as the English Premier League grapples with a spike in coronaviru­s cases wiping out matches, an illegal gathering involving four players from Tottenham and West Ham for a Christmas party has been exposed.

It wasn’t just a breach of lockdown regulation­s and embarrassi­ng for their clubs and league officials who have persuaded the government to allow games to continue as coronaviru­s infections surge to daily records in Britain.

There was a risk of contractin­g COVID-19 whenTotten­ham trio Erik Lamela (above), Sergio Reguilon and Giovani Lo Celso, and West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini mingled indoors with family and friends. That potentiall­y exposed teams and opponents to the coronaviru­s.

The image of the party — showing the group posing without any social distancing — was discovered on Instagram and published Saturday just as Tottenham was preparing to play Leeds.

“We are extremely disappoint­ed and strongly condemn this image showing some of our players with family and friends together at Christmas particular­ly as we know the sacrifices everybody around the country made to stay safe over the festive period,” Tottenham said in a statement.

Tottenham’s last game against Fulham was postponed on Wednesday due a coronaviru­s outbreak at its London rival. Fulham’s game against Burnley on Sunday became the Premier League’s third fixture this week to be called off.

In another incident, a video emerged on social media on Saturday which appeared to show Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojevi­c and Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, who are both Serbian, at a prohibited indoor New Year’s Eve party.

 ?? MIKE HEWITT/AP ??
MIKE HEWITT/AP

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