Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley to avoid punishment after Aston Villa pair break coronavirus restrictions

England duo went out for dinner together to celebrate Barkley’s 27th birthday but have been let off with a warning because of the different rules that apply when eating at the club’s training ground

Jack de Menezes
Sports News Correspondent
Thursday 10 December 2020 08:24
Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley will avoid club punishment after breaking coronavirus restrictions
Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley will avoid club punishment after breaking coronavirus restrictions
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England internationals Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley have escaped punishment after the Aston Villa footballers broke coronavirus restriction at the weekend.

The pair had dinner together at a London restaurant to celebrate Barkley’s 27th birthday, despite the city’s tier 2 restrictions preventing people from different households from mixing indoors.

It is the second time that 25-year-old Grealish has been guilty of breaking coronavirus restrictions, with the England midfielder apologising in March and receiving a fine of two weeks’ wages after attending a party during lockdown.

But Villa manager Dean Smith has confirmed that neither player will face disciplinary action given the strange scenario that allows them to eat together at the club’s Bodymoor Heath training ground but not outside of it under tier 2 restrictions.

Although Grealish and Barkley, who both live in tier 2 areas around Birmingham, did not break any rules by travelling to London, the current guidelines forbid meeting people from different households indoors.

READ MORE: Jack Grealish smelled of ‘intoxicating liquor’ after car crash

Smith admitted he felt a little uneasy disciplining his players for eating together, when they are allowed to do so while training at Bodymoor Heath.

"I have reminded Jack and Ross of their responsibilities but I've also reiterated that to the whole group of players. They have responsibilities as representatives of Aston Villa Football Club," Smith told Sky Sports.

"These are challenging times for all of us. I can't pretend I enjoyed having to explain the latest Covid-19 regulations - that travelling from tier 2 to tier 2 is not a problem but, even though the players all eat together daily, they can't go out for lunch in a restaurant with each other.

"Jack and Ross both returned negative tests, having been tested earlier in the week."

In March, Grealish issued a public apology and was fined two weeks' wages after attending a party in Solihull just hours after posting a message urging supporters to stay at home and protect the NHS.

Last month Grealish pleaded guilty to two charges of careless driving, with one of the offences in connection to a collision in Dickens Heath on 29 March that came six days after lockdown restrictions were imposed nationwide.

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Additional reporting by PA

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