Crystal Palace winger Eberechi Eze has admitted “an error of judgement" by attending former club Queens Park Rangers’ FA Cup tie against Fulham on Saturday in the latest breach of coronavirus regulations by a Premier League player.
Palace said they were unaware of QPR’s invitation to Eze and will speak to the England under-21 international after he was seen in the stands at Loftus Road without wearing a mask.
“QPR have acknowledged they made a mistake in hosting Eberechi Eze in the directors’ box at Saturday’s FA Cup match against Fulham without our knowledge," Palace said in a statement on Monday.
“Whilst we recognise Eberechi’s desire to support his former teammates, he accepts it was an error of judgement to attend the match.
“We were also concerned to see pictures of Eberechi not wearing a mask at certain moments and are speaking to him about these apparent lapses, which will be dealt with internally."
Palace captain Luka Milivojevic was among a host of Premier League stars, including Tottenham trio Erik Lamela, Sergio Reguilon and Giovani Lo Celso and Manchester City’s Benjamin Mendy pictured breaching Covid rules by attending parties over the festive period.
A record 40 positive cases were detected among Premier League players and staff last week.
Britain is back under national lockdown with infection rates soaring due to a new highly infectious strain of the virus.
Elite sport has been allowed to continue despite the restrictions.
Aston Villa’s clash with Tottenham, scheduled for Wednesday, became the fifth Premier League match postponed in the last two months on Monday due to outbreaks.
However, Newcastle manager Steve Bruce is among those to have questioned whether it is morally right for football to continue given the current infection rate.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Man City boss Pep Guardiola also questioned on Monday the privileged position offered to football.
“Morally, with the situation we have in this country and worldwide, to keep doing what we are doing is a little bit of a strange feeling," said Arteta. “We know what we can bring to society if we are able to do it in safe way."
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder said he would not be surprised if the Premier League is forced to stop in the coming weeks.
“Everyone knows the situation and if it gets suspended I don’t think it’d be a surprise," said Wilder.
“We’ll just go with what the Government and Premier League have to say and, if it’s the case to carry on, we’ll carry on.
“But I don’t think I’m being controversial if I say I don’t think anyone would be surprised if we don’t carry on with the way it’s sweeping through the country."