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Stoke chief 'very disappointed' after James McClean's alleged Covid-19 breach

Tony Scholes also emphasised footballers’ ‘duty to act responsibly’ during the pandemic.

Stoke City's James McClean (file pic).
Stoke City's James McClean (file pic).
Image: PA

STOKE CEO Tony Scholes has expressed disappointment after an alleged Covid-19 breach prompted the club to suspend Ireland international James McClean with immediate effect.

As a result, the Potters will be without the winger — who missed two games for his club after testing positive for Covid-19 while on Ireland duty last November — for the weekend’s Championship clash with Blackburn.

The move came after a video surfaced on Instagram of the 31-year-old boxing with a trainer in a private gym, which contravenes the current regulations in Britain.

“Obviously disappointed, very disappointed, but I’m going to duck that question to a degree because that’s going to be subject to disciplinary,” Scholes told BBC Radio Stoke, per Independent.ie, when asked for his reaction to the controversy.

“When we found out yesterday that James had visited a private gym — I’ve got to be using the word allegedly in all of these things — it’s clearly a breach of protocol.

“We took the decision to immediately suspend him pending the investigation. We hope we get that done quickly because we’ve had to withdraw James from availability for tomorrow’s game. We hope to deal with that matter very quickly.

“I’ll make a more general comment because I have to be very careful… We all know we live in very difficult times, we’ve all got a duty to act responsibly. Football is continuing at the moment at a time when across the country every other leisure activity has been curtailed. We have to be mindful of that. We appreciate it and we don’t take it for granted.

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“People have got a reasonable right to expect all of us to adopt the highest standards of behaviour. That’s a general statement, I’m not making that specifically with response to James. He is suspended pending the investigation. As to what happens thereafter, it depends on the outcome.”

About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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