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'It was a silly mistake' - Irish midfielder suspended over Cheltenham urine incident

Samir Carruthers says he let everyone down with his actions yesterday.

Carruthers plays for League One side MK Dons.
Carruthers plays for League One side MK Dons.
Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Updated at 20.56

AN ENGLISH SECOND-TIER football club has suspended one of its players after he was photographed urinating in public at horse racing’s Cheltenham Festival.

MK Dons said Wednesday they had fined former Irish U21 midfielder Samir Carruthers two weeks’ wages and suspended him for their next match after both he and fellow ex-Ireland underage player Shrewsbury’s James Collins, currently on loan at Northampton, were pictured in the Sun newspaper urinating in a glass on Tuesday’s first day at Cheltenham — the south-west course that annually stages England’s premier jumps racing meeting.

Collins was also photographed throwing the contents of the glass over a balcony.

MK Dons chairman Pete Winkelman said: “Samir has received a warning, been fined two weeks’ wages and handed a suspension by the club, which is inclusive of this Saturday’s fixture with Brighton.”

Carruthers, 22, had earlier apologised publicly, telling Sky Sports: “I just want to say I’m sorry to everyone, my family, the club, the chairman, the gaffer.

“I’ve not been raised to do something like that and I’ve let everyone down. I’ve let the community down and I’ve let Milton Keynes down and I have to take the criticism that comes with it.

Samir Carruthers celebrates scoring London-born Carruthers is capped for Ireland at U19 and U21 level. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Meanwhile, a joint statement issued by Shrewsbury and Northampton said: “Following a joint internal investigation and discussions between both clubs, on-loan striker James Collins has been fined the maximum allowable two weeks’ wages and warned of his future conduct.”

Collins, 25, said: “I cannot apologise enough for my actions and the pictures from my visit to Cheltenham Races yesterday.”

Cheltenham had earlier barred the same group of footballers from attending on Wednesday, with a tweet saying: “In regards to images of inappropriate behaviour from yesterday (Tuesday), we have cancelled their booking for today (Wednesday).”

Alcohol and horse racing have a long mutual history.

But there have been concerns among horse-racing officials that the now often common sight at many British courses of drunken and scruffy racegoers is not promoting the right image of their sport, although this has in turn led to accusations of elitism.

Last month, organisers of the Grand National festival at Liverpool’s Aintree course in north-west England, urged women attending this year’s Ladies’ Day to smarten up in a bid to make the day more “aspirational”.

© AFP 2016

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