Newcastle were first Premier League side to be hit by a coronavirus outbreak earlier this season; Allan Saint-Maximin will miss Saturday's FA Cup game at Arsenal; Steve Bruce says it is "morally wrong" for English football to continue as cases continue to rise
Saturday 9 January 2021 08:04, UK
Newcastle United have denied Allan Saint-Maximin breached Covid-19 quarantine regulations after the French winger was pictured with a fan in a supermarket this week.
"Following a request from the media, Newcastle United can confirm that Saint-Maximin did not contravene any UK quarantine rules during a visit to a supermarket in Newcastle on Thursday evening," the club said in a statement.
"Allan will continue to adhere to all quarantine rules and COVID-19 guidelines and will follow return to training protocols.
"The club considers this matter closed and will not be issuing further comment."
Newcastle were the first Premier League side to be hit by a coronavirus outbreak earlier this season, leading to their training ground being shut down for 10 days.
Four Premier League matches have been postponed and more than 50 games in the lower divisions of the Football League called off.
Saint-Maximin, who was among the Newcastle players to have contracted the virus, will miss Saturday's FA Cup game at Arsenal.
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce believes it is "morally wrong" for football to continue as coronavirus cases continue to rise and wreak havoc with the fixture list.
Bruce's side were the first Premier League team to feel the full extent of Covid-19 earlier this season and he believes a suspension of football is the only way to protect players.
"I see other clubs struggling with it now and of course there's Premier League protocols in place but once you leave the training ground you are in the outside world," Bruce told Sky Sports News.
"The speed in which it ripped through us is something all football clubs will be looking at because it is difficult to contain and stop.
"We've seen first hand how it affects people - we've had two players who were very, very sick and one or two members of staff, one in particular nearly hospitalised.
"And no one envisaged this new wave was going to be as powerful as it is.
"Financially it's right to play on, but for me - morally it's wrong. I understand people want to play a game of football but we are just as vulnerable as everyone else."