Soccer-Palace captain Milivojevic apologises for breaching COVID-19 protocols

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Premier League - Aston Villa v Crystal Palace

(Reuters) - Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojevic apologised on Wednesday for breaching COVID-19 guidelines after attending a party on New Year's Eve.

Social media pictures showed the Serbian midfielder and Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic at a gathering with at least seven other people. His actions were condemned by Palace manager Roy Hodgson.

Under British government guidelines, people living in Tier 4 regions which includes London where the two clubs are located, are not allowed to mix with others outside their own household.

"I want to publicly apologise for my actions on New Year's Eve," Milivojevic said in a statement

"As captain of Crystal Palace I am fully aware that my responsibilities go beyond football, and that in this instance, I have let the fans, the club, my manager and team mates down.

"In what is a really difficult and challenging moment for everyone, I am truly grateful that I am able to continue to do the job I love and I do not take this for granted. I am very sorry to anyone who has been made to feel angry, hurt or upset by my actions."

Milivojevic, who tested negative for COVID-19 and played in Palace's 2-0 win over Sheffield United over the weekend, said he would be making a donation to the National Health Service.

The Serbian duo were not the only Premier League players to breach COVID-19 protocols in recent weeks.

Tottenham Hotspur's Erik Lamela, Giovani Lo Celso and Sergio Reguilon were pictured together at a Christmas party along with West Ham United midfielder Manuel Lanzini. Manchester City full back Benjamin Mendy hosted a party on New Year's Eve.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)