June 29, 2020 / 5:10 PM / 9 days ago

Watford's Gray apologises for violating lockdown protocols

Soccer Football - Premier League - Burnley v Watford - Turf Moor, Burnley, Britain - June 25, 2020 Watford's Andre Gray before the match, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Peter Powell/Pool via REUTERS

(Reuters) - Watford striker Andre Gray issued an apology on Monday after violating COVID-19 lockdown protocols by hosting a gathering of friends to celebrate his birthday last week.

As a result of the breach, Watford were forced to omit Gray and team mates Nathaniel Chalobah and Domingos Quina from the squad for their weekend’s match in the Premier League against Southampton as a precaution.

Watford, 16th, lost 3-1 to the Saints and now sit a point above the relegation zone with six games remaining.

"I wanted to wait to make a public apology as my first apology needed to be to my team mates and staff first for not being able to be involved in yesterday's game and the risk I may have caused," Gray, 29, wrote on Instagram here

“I just want to reiterate that it was not a late night party like what is being portrayed and only a gathering of friends which turned into a sort of football tournament on my birthday.

“I understand my responsibilities and will do what it takes to make it right, apologies again!”

Watford next travel to fourth-placed Chelsea on Saturday.

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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