BY DANIEL MARSH
Scott Parker has condemned Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic’s breach of Covid-19 regulations following his New Year’s Eve celebrations with Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojevic.
The Whites striker was snapped celebrating the New Year with Serbian team-mate Milivojevic in London with his partner and a number of other individuals. Guidelines at the time had seen London in tier four, meaning that all household mixing was banned over the festive period.
“I’m bitterly disappointed,” said Parker.
“Myself and the football club were disappointed to see the pictures of Aleks. He understands he’s made a mistake and he understands he was irresponsible. It’s not acceptable. We’ve dealt with that as a football club internally.”
Despite condemning Mitrovic’s actions, Parker did defend the sincerity of the Serbian’s apology when questioned further on if he thought it was a genuine one
“I do. I suppose you’d expect me to say that, but I’ve had a long conversation with Mitro regarding it and there’s a genuine and honest apology there. He knows he’s done wrong – he knows he’s made a mistake. I do sense that. I also understand that of course, people’s perception of things is that people who have done bad are only apologising because they’ve been caught. I can see that as well. I can only speak for Aleks, and even then I can’t speak fully because obviously I’m not him. But what I can tell you is when I’ve spoken to him regarding this situation he’s very remorseful. He knows he’s made a mistake and he’s apologetic for that.”
The breach by Mitrovic and Milivojevic last week is the latest in a number of incidents where footballers have been snapped breaking current rules. With tougher penalties for the general public, Parker agreed that authorities could soon step in to enforce additional punishments away from any sanctions clubs could take.
“I could understand it. I think we can see that now in the press. I keep referring to not just football players but the general public, people who are not sticking to guidelines there seems to be some penalties now in place and sanctions for that. So of course, that is an option and I see why that may be the case. We’re living in a moment which is very, very serious. A lot of people are losing their lives, so I can understand why that may be the case.
“It can be stopped by sanctioning and punishment as football clubs which obviously we look to do. But, like anything, when a grown man leaves your training facility you hope with the training and education you’ve given them that they’ll make the correct decisions in the way to go about life at this present moment in time. Of course, along the way mistakes are going to be made – you can’t control that because you’re not with them 24/7. These are the issues that I think we all face in this present moment in time.”
There has been some suggestion that some players may think Covid-19 will have less of an impact on them due to their physical conditions in light of the recent number of breaches.
Parker added when that was put to him: “Maybe. Maybe they’re healthy and young and maybe there is a sense that it’s not that serious [for them]. But Frank [Lampard] at Chelsea and Steve [Bruce] at Newcastle talking about a couple of their players with longer term effects. I’ve seen people in terms of longer effects, not footballers, that are struggling with things so that could be the case.”
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.