Leicester City made headlines for all the wrong reasons at the weekend as James Maddison, Ayoze Perez and Hamza Choudhury were embroiled in a Covid-19 rule breach controversy. The trio were dropped for Leicester’s crucial Premier League fixture against West Ham United on Sunday after it emerged that they had contravened coronavirus protocols by attending a party at Perez’s house.
Leicester City released a statement: “It is extremely disappointing to learn of a breach that had the potential to undermine the efforts of club staff to protect the environments in which our teams train and play. Appropriate measures have been taken to prevent our team bubbles being compromised. We wholly expect our people to behave in a way that reflects the national effort and the sacrifices made by our communities to control the spread of the virus. Those involved have apologised for their poor judgement. Our response to the matter will be concluded internally.”
Brendan Rodgers said: “It was a decision I made, we had an internal situation last weekend and it is not a standard that we would expect. All those boys that you mentioned, they are all good guys, they are all good lads, but we have a standard on and off the pitch that we need to ensure we adhere and that is why the team has been developing well over these last couple of years. But the boys will re-join this group after this game (West Ham), the consequence of this behaviour is they will miss this game, but they will join the group next week and then we will get ready for a semi-final. It is internal and something that is being dealt with from within. The boys that you mentioned, it is something that of course is disappointing but I know them, it is a behaviour and a mistake that they have made, it is not their identity and it is certainly not the identity of what we are trying to produce. It would have been easy to just have them here, but it is not what we are about, we have a set of values for this team and this football club, and we have to adhere to that and like I say, the players in the main have been brilliant during my time, and they are top players. But they will re-join the group (this week) and they will work hard and we will all be back together again. You can do it if you are soft, but for me, it is always about discipline, in order to be a winner and to compete at the top end of this table, you have to act like a winner and that winning and that winning mentality is a certain level of behaviour and a mindset that allows you to prepare every day for every game. From a personal perspective I was bitterly disappointed. But it’s a mistake that they’ve made and I won’t hold it against them. It’s in the past now. So no, I had no hesitation, you can fine players nowadays and whatever else, but it is a drop in the ocean the consequence what was the football game today, unfortunately we did not have them. But we will move on from it and look to finish the season stronger.”
Brendan Rodgers added: “The boys that weren’t involved, I have really strong relationships with them, they’re good boys, they work hard. But they’ve made a mistake and there’s been a consequence of that. It won’t linger, they’ve served their punishment as such and then they’re back with the squad. It would have been easy for me just to give them a week’s fine, and then they join the group. But it’s more than that. It’s something now that will hopefully help them in the longer term, and if that time comes again when they have to make a decision, they at least know what the consequences are”.