Man City's Mendy the latest EPL player to breach virus rules

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Photo credit Manchester City's Benjamin Mendy, left, challenges for the ball with Fulham's Mario Lemina during an English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and Fulham at the Etihad stadium in Manchester, England, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)

LONDON (AP) — Manchester City expressed disappointment Sunday that defender Benjamin Mendy became the latest partying Premier League player to breach English coronavirus rules by hosting friends at his house on New Year’s Eve.

The revelation about Mendy’s rule-breaking comes as City deals with the impact of a coronavirus outbreak at the club that led to the postponement of Monday's match at Everton and forced at least five players into self-isolation.

Mendy allowed a chef and two friends of his partner to attend his home, a representative for the player was cited as telling "The Sun" newspaper. People from different households are banned from mixing indoors in the northern English area where Mendy lives.

“The club is aware of a New Year’s Eve COVID-19 breach involving Benjamin Mendy and the subsequent media reporting of it," City said.

“While it is understood that elements of this incident have been misinterpreted in the reports, and that the player has publicly apologised for his error, the club is disappointed to learn of the transgression and will be conducting an internal investigation.”

A statement from Mendy's representative to “The Sun” newspaper expressed regret on behalf of the Frenchman.

“Ben accepts that this is a breach of COVID-19 protocols and is sorry for his actions in this matter," the statement said. "Ben has had a COVID test and is liaising with Manchester City about this.”

On Saturday, a social media image was published of Tottenham trio Erik Lamela, Sergio Reguilon and Giovani Lo Celso attending a large house party in London over the Christmas period in clear breach of the regulations.

Tottenham condemned the players, who could now face internal disciplinary action.

West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini was also in attendance at the same party. The player issued an apology on social media for his “bad mistake” while the club said the matter had been dealt with internally.

Meanwhile Fulham, whose match at Burnley on Sunday has been postponed due to positive cases at the club, is investigating pictures that emerged on social media on Friday showing Aleksandar Mitrovic and his fellow Serb Luka Milivojevic of Crystal Palace, along with their two families on Dec. 31.

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