Queens Park Rangers’ manager Mark Warburton has admitted the club made a mistake in allowing Eberechi Eze to attend their FA Cup tie against Fulham on Saturday.
The Crystal Palace winger was allowed to sit in the directors’ box at Loftus Road to watch his former club despite the ban on fans and the national lockdown.
The Football Association is understood to be looking into the incident, which appears to be the latest example of footballers breaching Covid-19 protocols.
“We know the situation that society is facing in this country – we are all very aware of it,” Warburton said. “QPR as a club have stringent protocols in place that we apply very strongly to every single player and staff member. On this occasion we should have declined the request. It’s as simple as that. We made the error.
“Eberechi is an outstanding character. I can’t speak highly enough of him. He made a request, we should have said no. On this rare occasion we have made a mistake, it’s as plain and simple as that. It will not happen again.”
Eze, who joined Palace from QPR for about £20m in the summer, was pictured not wearing a mask as he sat in the stands.
Palace have so far declined to comment but their manager, Roy Hodgson, said last week that no further breaches of government guidelines by his players would be accepted after Luka Milivojevic broke the rules on New Year’s Eve. Milivojevic issued an apology after his household mixed with the Fulham forward Aleksandar Mitrovic and his family.