Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley to avoid punishment after breaking Covid restrictions
Grealish and Barkley were spotted in a restaurant in London together
England internationals Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley will escape any punishment after breaking coronavirus restrictions.
The Aston Villa duo had dined at a London restaurant to mark Barkley's 27 birthday over the weekend, despite the capital's Tier 2 status preventing individuals from different households from mixing in indoor settings.
The pair both live in Tier 2 areas and therefore didn't break any rules in travelling to London, but Villa boss Dean Smith has confirmed he has reminded them - and the rest of his players - of their responsibilities. He has, however, stopped short of issuing any disciplinary measures.
While accepting of the fact the players had technically breached the regulations, Smith also pointed out the unusual circumstances that permit them to travel from their homes to the club's Bodymoor Heath training ground, which is in a Tier 3 zone, where they are allowed to eat together on the premises without breaking any restrictions.
"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."
The Villa manager also confirmed that both players had returned negative Covid tests in the time since their outing.