Crystal Palace will “seriously consider” dropping players who breach Covid-19 rules

Roy Hodgson says Crystal Palace would seriously consider not selecting any of their players who now breach Covid-19 regulations.

Eagles captain Luka Milivojevic apologised on Wednesday for breaking the rules by attending a New Year’s Eve party with Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic.

London is under tier four restrictions, meaning families should not mix.

Milivojevic still started – and captained – Palace as they beat Sheffield United.

The Serbian international has also said he had made a donation to the local NHS service.

Milivojevic is in contention to start tomorrow night’s FA Cup third round tie at Wolves.

Hodgson said: “Luka has made his statement. He’s been fined, he’s been punished – when do you want the punishment to stop?

“If he’s fit and available then I can select him. Yes, that’s the case. We’re talking about someone who has done an awful lot of good for the club in the three-and-a-half years – he has been commendable in so many ways and a good example in so many ways.

“We’re disappointed that he did what he did. He’s breached the rules and we’ve sanctioned him. He has accepted that responsibility. At least for the moment I think that should be allowed to rest. We move on and hope to never be in that situation again.”

Luka Milivojevic

Hodgson did admit that any future indiscretions could leave to players being removed from the squad.

He said: “That is something we’d have to seriously consider, yes.

“I don’t think it was a relevant consideration on January 2 when I woke up in the morning and found out this had happened, especially in consideration of all the good that Luka Milivojevic has done in my time here -as a captain, as a player and as a representative of the club.

“I didn’t know anything about the incident until the morning of the game. I didn’t think it was even an appropriate response at the time [not to play him last weekend] – it wasn’t on the agenda. Things have moved on considerably since waking up on the morning of the game and finding out some footballers had broken coronavirus regulations.

“We’re a week further away. A lot of discussion and debate has gone on.

“The fact he has made a clear mistake, that was recognised immediately. I’d like to think he’s gone as far as he possibly can go with his comments to holding his hands up, taking responsibility and doing something concrete and positive about it.

Crystal Palace’s Luka Milivojevic places the ball ahead of scoring his side’s first goal of the game from the penalty spot

“But we’re in a different situation now. There’s the football issue and the wider public moral issue. The Premier League have made it clear to all the clubs – through the owners – that if football is to continue and be allowed to enjoy the privilege to continue to work when so many other people can’t then the bar is going to have to be set so much higher. The accountability aspect is going to have to be taken more and more into account.

“Our chairman is the one who is in contact with the Premier League, not myself. Our chairman and the other owners are taking responsibility very, very seriously.

“The government has allowed us in the Premier League and Football League to continue playing. It’s a privilege we must not – in any way – take for granted or abuse. Unfortunately when instances occur, as they did over the festive period, it is an abuse. They are determined to make certain that doesn’t happen again and it has been passed very clearly to the players.

“It was the chairman’s message but he asked Doug Freedman to put the message across at the training ground. I’ve been able to reinforce that.”

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