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Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley avoid punishment after breaking Covid-19 rules

Leicester City v Aston Villa – Premier League – King Power Stadium
(Image credit: Michael Regan)

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has confirmed that Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley have avoided punishment after breaking coronavirus restrictions at the weekend.

Smith has spoken to the pair and reminded them of their responsibilities after they were spotted dining together in a London restaurant to celebrate Barkley’s 27th birthday.

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.

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.”

It is the second time Grealish has been caught breaching coronavirus guidelines.

The 25-year-old England international issued a public apology and was fined two weeks’ wages in March after attending a party in Solihull just hours after posting a message urging supporters to stay at home and protect the NHS.