Christmas bashes have long been an annual tradition for players — but clubs in the Premier League and EFL have advised their players against organising festivities with team-mates amid concerns they would be likely to break pandemic restrictions.
In addition to the health risks, the potential for a PR disaster is a concern for clubs as they look to stay out of trouble this month. Indoor social gatherings are banned under current guidelines, but the Government permits parties of six to meet if they are holding a ‘business meeting’ — a technicality players could use to circumvent the rules.
But footballers have been told they will be accused of flouting regulations if they use that justification.
Players have also been warned against holding secret parties.
Tammy Abraham, Ben Chilwell and Jadon Sancho were criticised for breaking regulations by attending a covert gathering in October. On Wednesday, Aston Villa manager Dean Smith confirmed he had reminded Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley of their responsibilities after the pair breached the laws during a night out in London last week.
And on Thursday, Chelsea boss Frank Lampard urged his players to ‘do the right thing’.
p class=”type-text”>’Responsibilities for players are big, as role models to the outside world and for their careers, to do the right thing particularly when they are playing so frequently over Christmas,’ said Lampard. ‘They have to live differently to the rest of the public.’