Manchester City right-back Kyle Walker has issued an apology for breaching the UK government's coronavirus protocols after a tabloid report claimed the England international hosted a 'sex party'.
The Covid-19 outbreak in the UK has officially infected more than 40,000 people, killing over 4,000, and has resulted in lockdown measures that place significant restrictions on civil liberties.
Among these is a ban on non-essential travel and a strict policy on social distancing, with the 29-year-old in breach of both expectations.
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Following The Sun's allegations that Walker hired two women to spend the evening at his home, the defender said in a statement: “I want to take this opportunity to issue a public apology for the choices I made last week.
“I understand that my position as a professional footballer brings the responsibility of being a role model. As such, I want to apologise to my family, friends, football club, supporters and the public for letting them down.”
City have already confirmed that the player, who hours later was involved in a video urging people to stick to the guidelines and stay at home, will face punishment.
The club stated: “Manchester City FC are aware of a story in a tabloid newspaper regarding the private life of Kyle Walker in relation to a breach of the UK lockdown and social distancing rules.
“Footballers are global role models, and our staff and players have been working to support the incredible efforts of the NHS and other key workers in fighting the effects of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, in any way we can. Kyle’s actions in this matter have directly contravened these efforts.
“We are disappointed to hear the allegations, note Kyle’s swift statement and apology, and will be conducting an internal disciplinary procedure in the coming days.”
The revelations come at a difficult time for the reputation of footballers in the UK, with the PFA unable to come to an agreement how Premier League players can best help in the current situation.
Among those to defend the stars are Danny Mills, who claimed that the union is letting its representatives down and giving them a bad name for dragging their heels over the issue.
Walker has played 30 times for Pep Guardiola’s side this season and has scored a single goal.