Kyle Walker has publicly apologised for flouting the country’s coronavirus lockdown by reportedly inviting two escorts and a friend to his flat in Cheshire on Tuesday night, with Manchester City set to open an internal disciplinary procedure over the allegations.
Despite having taken to Twitter the same day to ask people to “stay home” and “check in on loved ones but don’t visit them”, reports have claimed Walker paid over £2,000 for two sex workers to visit his home earlier this week, arriving on Tuesday and leaving the next day.
City have launched an investigation into the matter and the England international could be handed a fine of two weeks’ wages – amounting to £250,000.
The UK is currently in the second week of a country-wide lockdown due to the coronavirus, which has claimed the lives of almost 70,000 people worldwide and close to 5,000 in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
And the 29-year-old broke rules on social distancing and self-isolation by having visitors to his home.
Just hours later, in an online video, Walker said: ““Stay indoors, keep washing your hands, keep following the protocols and just protect the NHS.
“It’s been tough, but first and foremost, we have to think about other people’s health and protecting the elderly and family members that can spread it.”
In a statement to address the reports, Walker said: “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.
“There are heroes out there making a vital difference to society at the moment, and I have been keen to help support and highlight their amazing sacrifices and life-saving work over the past week.
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“My actions are in direct contrast to what I should have been doing regarding the lockdown.”
A City spokesman confirmed that the Premier League champions would be conducting an investigation.
They said: “Manchester City 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.”
Walker is not the first Premier League footballer to breach government guidelines, with Chelsea’s Mason Mount pictured having a kickabout in north London last month.
That was while the Blues’ squad were in lockdown after Mount’s team-mate Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for COVID-19.
Since then, Aston Villa playmaker Jack Grealish has admitted to being “deeply embarrassed” after he was pictured at the scene of a car accident last week.
It was reported that Grealish’s car had hit a number of parked vehicles, with the incident coming hours after the 24-year-old – similarly to Walker – tweeted to fans telling them to stay at home.
Having been fined and disciplined by his club, Villa captain Grealish said in a video message on social media: “I know it’s a tough time for everyone at the moment being locked in doors for so long.
“I just got a call off a friend asking to go round to his (house) and I stupidly agreed to do so.
“I don’t want anyone to make the same mistake I did so I urge everyone to stay at home and follow the rules and guidelines of what we’ve been asked to do.
“I know for a fact I’ll be doing that in the near future now and I urge everyone to do the same. I hope everyone can I accept my apology and we can move on from this.
“Hopefully in the near future we can all be out enjoying ourselves again once this has all boiled over. Cheers guys.”
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