The Morning Call (Sunday)
EPL virus issues deepen with party
Keeping an eye on the world of sports during the pandemic:
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.