PA In hot water: Katie McCabe.
Under fire

Ireland captain McCabe and Arsenal team-mates apologise for controversial Dubai travels

Gunners boss Joe Montemurro has spoken out about the disappointment at the club.

ARSENAL WOMEN’S BOSS Joe Montemurro has spoken of the disappointment at the club with regard to some of their players — one of those Ireland captain Katie McCabe — recently travelling to Dubai.

Montemurro also stressed that Arsenal “won’t be able to tolerate these sort of decisions, not just from a sporting perspective but from a global morality perspective.”

Last Saturday’s Women’s Super League match at Aston Villa was postponed after an Arsenal player tested positive for coronavirus, with several members of the first-team squad self-isolating as a result.

That player was among three in the Gunners camp who had made trips to Dubai around Christmas, the PA news agency understands.

While it is understood Arsenal are satisfied the trips were made for business reasons, they have reminded the players of their responsibilities.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday ahead of Sunday’s away fixture against Reading, Montemurro said there had been apologies from the players and the club had “dealt with it” internally.

“We had some official scenarios of players going to Dubai and there is obviously disappointment of the situation, the way it panned out,” Montemurro said.

“From my perspective, it’s about the moral compass, and the consequences of these situations. The players have apologised for their actions, we have dealt with it internally, and for me the really important thing is that it doesn’t happen again, and it is all about actions now.

It’s all about making sure these players understand they are role models, they are people in the public eye, and we won’t be able to tolerate these sort of decisions, not just from a sporting perspective but from a global morality perspective.”

When asked if the players involved had put the health of Jen Beattie at risk – it emerged last month that the Arsenal defender had been receiving treatment for breast cancer – Montemurro said: “In the moment, in the situation, they probably didn’t think of those situations, they probably didn’t think of that.

“But I can guarantee you going forward from now that they have understood the effect of their actions, the repercussions of what could have happened.

“We can’t change the past. Are we disappointed it happened? Absolutely. Are we going to make sure these situations are dealt with properly? Absolutely. We (are) going to make sure that they learn from their actions and that these actions don’t happen again.”

arsenal-v-everton-fa-womens-super-league-meadow-park PA After the postponement last week, Joe Montemurro’s side are set to return to action at Reading on Sunday. PA

Montemurro was then asked if the situation had had an impact on the unity of the squad, and he said: “There’s all different emotions, all different situations flying around initially from that perspective, but we’ve had a good discussion internally.”

Regarding anger prompted by the matter, Montemurro said he can “totally understand the reaction of the greater public”, and added: “It’s something we just have to be better at as people, and we have to make sure these situations don’t happen again.”

Asked if the players should make public apologies, he said: “I will have to leave that to Arsenal to make that decision.

“We’ve dealt with it in the way we believe is right, and again, my biggest thing now is action, to make sure that when faced with these moral decisions, they make the right decision.

“From my perspective, I just want to be in a position to say we’ve dealt with it, we’ve made them understand, we hope that it won’t happen again, and we will move on from here.”

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