Crystal Palace star Eberechi Eze ‘accepts it was an error of judgement’ to watch his old side QPR in action as club admit concern over photos of winger not wearing a mask at FA Cup tie in a statement… with FA probe over potential lockdown breach ongoing
- Eberechi Eze attended QPR’s FA Cup third-round tie against Fulham on Saturday
- The Crystal Palace star was seen not wearing a mask at times during the clash
- Eze’s attendance sparked accusations that he breached Covid-19 protocols
- The FA have since launched a probe after Eze was spotted back at QPR
- Palace said in a statement that they will now deal with the matter internally
Crystal Palace have issued a statement after Eberechi Eze appeared to flout coronavirus guidelines to attend former club QPR’s FA Cup match against Fulham, insisting the player ‘accepts it was an error of judgement’.
The FA have launched a probe after Eze was spotted back at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium on Saturday, sparking controversy amid the new national lockdown measures in place with coronavirus cases soaring within the UK.
Eze was also seen not wearing a mask at all times during the FA Cup tie, and Palace have since revealed that they are speaking to him about his actions and that they will deal with it internally.
Crystal Palace star Eberechi Eze was in attendance as QPR hosted Fulham on Saturday
Eze (far left) was a guest of his former club QPR despite the new lockdown measures in place
Palace wrote late on Monday afternoon: ‘QPR have acknowledged they made a mistake in hosting Eberechi Eze in the directors’ box at Saturday’s FA Cup match against Fulham without our knowledge.
‘Whilst we recognize Eberechi’s desire to support his former team mates, he accepts it was an error of judgement to attend the match.
‘We were also concerned to see pictures of Eberechi not wearing a mask at certain moments and are speaking to him about these apparent lapses, which will be dealt with internally.’
The visit went against Government guidelines amid the third national lockdown, which states that people can only leave their house for essential reasons.
QPR boss Mark Warburton admitted that the club made a mistake by allowing Eze to return to watch his former side – whom he played for between 2016 and 2020 – in action.
Eze joined Palace from Queens Park Rangers in last summer’s transfer window for £19.5million
Warburton said: ‘Yes, absolutely, I understand why there is [upset and anger] because we know the situation society is facing in this country. We are all very aware of it.
‘QPR as a club have stringent protocols in place that we apply very, very strongly to every single player and staff member.
‘On this occasion we should have declined the request, simple as that. We made the error and know that. Ebere is an outstanding character. I cannot speak highly enough of Eberechi Eze in terms of his character.
‘I believe he was at a game in October, at a game back in August. He’s very close to several members of the squad and staff such is his character but on this occasion I had no idea.
‘He made the request, we should have said no. On this rare occasion we have made the mistake, it’s as plain and simple as that.
Mark Warburton has admitted that QPR made a mistake in allowing Eze to attend on Saturday
‘We should have politely rejected the request for obvious reasons. That mistake was made, it will not happen again.
‘Other than that, the protocols are stringently applied as they have to be right now. Our record amongst the playing squad is exemplary in terms of testing, what we do here and the results as well.
‘So a lot of work here has been done but on this occasion it was a mistake from the club.’
The 22-year-old joined Palace from QPR in the summer for £19.5m and returned to see their 2-0 defeat having played against Wolves on Friday night.
Palace captain Luka Milivojevic (left) issued an apology recently after celebrating at a New Year’s Eve party with Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic (right)
Suggestions Eze’s visit was approved by the FA have been rebuffed and they are now investigating the matter, which took place just a day after the Premier League wrote to all clubs to remind them of their coronavirus protocols.
QPR could also be in hot water with clubs only allowed a restricted number of directors and scouts to be inside stadiums along with those deemed essential to the game.
Meanwhile, it’s not the first time Palace have been forced to deal with one of their players flouting guidelines amid the ongoing pandemic.
Palace skipper Luka Milivojevic recently apologised after breaking Covid rules by attending a New Year’s Eve party alongside Serbian team-mate Aleksandar Mitrovic.
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