Tottenham Hotspur had described the decision of Sergio Reguilon, Erik Lamela, and Giovani Lo Celso to gather with family during Christmas as a disappointment.
The trio and West Ham United player Manuel Lanzini were pictured with their families in a group picture that went viral on social media recently. Such a gathering is against coronavirus guidelines for players playing in the Premier League.
Recall that since mid-March when the coronavirus pandemic forced football to a halt until when football returned in June 2020, footballers are made to follow a certain protocol that will keep them safe from the dreaded virus. This became necessary to keep the game running amid the pandemic.
Hence, football clubs are always against players breaching the protocol, and sometimes players can get banned or fined for breaching coronavirus-related restrictions. Breaching the rule is so serious that players could be fined £200, and the fine could rise to £6,400 for a player that continually breach the restrictions in the United Kingdom.
Though some parts of the UK are enjoying eased coronavirus restrictions, London, where Sergio Reguilon, Erik Lamela, Giovani Lo Celso, and Manuel Lanzini reside is under tier 4 which means that the city is observing strict restrictions.
The restriction which the four players breached is the banned on meeting “socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble.”
“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,” a statement from Tottenham Hotspur read.
“The rules are clear, there are no exceptions, and we regularly remind all our players and staff about the latest protocols and their responsibilities to adhere and set an example. The matter will be dealt with internally.”
A West Ham United spokesperson said: “The club has set the highest possible standards with its protocols and measures relating to Covid-19 so we are disappointed to learn of Manuel Lanzini’s actions.
“The matter has been dealt with internally and Manuel has been strongly reminded of his responsibilities.”
Though the FA had not announced whether the West Ham and the three Tottenham players would be punished for breaching the coronavirus restriction or not, the players have taken to their various Twitter handle to apologize for their actions.
Lamela wrote: “I want to apologize for a decision I made over Christmas which I deeply regret.
“On reflection, I understand the seriousness of my actions and the impact it has on others. I am truly thankful for everyone working hard to keep us safe and I feel ashamed knowing I’ve let people down.”
I want to apologise for a decision I made over Christmas which I deeply regret. On reflection I understand the seriousness of my actions and the impact it has on others.— Erik Manuel Lamela (@ErikLamela) January 2, 2021
I am truly thankful to everyone working hard to keep us safe and I feel ashamed knowing I’ve let people down.
And Lo Celso posted: “I want to apologize to everyone – I understand the great sacrifices people are making to keep themselves and loved ones safe and the frustration you have expressed towards me is justified.
“I take responsibility for my actions, which I genuinely regret.
“I also wish to express my gratitude to all those working so hard to keep us all safe and will do everything I can to set a better example in the future.”
While Manuel Lanzini wrote: “I want to apologize for a bad mistake I made over Christmas and I take full responsibility for my actions,” he said.
“I know people have made difficult sacrifices to stay safe and I should be setting a better example.”
I want to apologise for a bad mistake I made over Christmas and I take full responsibility for my actions. I know people have made difficult sacrifices to stay safe and I should be setting a better example. 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼— Manuel Lanzini (@manulanzini) January 2, 2021