Four Premier League players from Tottenham and West Ham broke English lockdown laws by gathering inside a house together over Christmas just after the government had tightened coronavirus restrictions in response to a new transmissible variant.
Tottenham and West Ham condemned the inter-household mixing by their players, which was revealed by a photo posted on social media.
Tottenham trio Erik Lamela, Sergio Reguilon and Giovani Lo Celso were pictured close together with West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini and other people inside a home.
The restrictions imposed in the London area prevent people from visiting another house, apart from someone in a 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,” Tottenham said in a statement ahead of Saturday’s game against Leeds.
“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," Tottenham said.
The controversy comes amid questions about whether the Premier League should suspend the competition like last season during the pandemic.
Three matches have been postponed in the last week, with a COVID-19 outbreak at Fulham responsible for its game at Tottenham being called off on Wednesday.