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Southgate given another off-field issue before England games

LONDON (AP) — England manager Gareth Southgate has another off-field issue to deal with. Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham has apologized after a party was held at his house over the weekend in contravention of the British government’s coronavirus guidelines limiting people to gatherings of groups of six or fewer when meeting those they don’t live with.

According to footage shared by The Sun newspaper, Ben Chilwell and Jadon Sancho — called up by England last week, along with Abraham — were at the party. The three players were scheduled to link up with the England squad on Monday, but their arrival at the country's training base at St. George's Park has been delayed “to understand if there is any risk to the wider group,” the Football Association said in a statement on Monday.

“This is to allow time to gather further information of a social gathering that all three players reportedly attended over the weekend,” the FA said. Abraham turned 23 on Friday and said he returned to his house on Saturday — after playing a Premier League game for Chelsea — “to find a small surprise gathering.”

“Though I was totally unaware this was planned, I would like to wholeheartedly apologize for the naivety shown for the organization and attending of this gathering," the striker told The Sun. “All I can do now is learn from it, apologize to everyone and ensure it never happens again.”

England plays Wales in a friendly on Thursday before Nations League matches against Belgium and Denmark at home. When England’s players met up for international matches against Iceland and Denmark last month, Harry Maguire was withdrawn from the squad ahead of the games after being convicted of assault in Greece. The defender has since been granted a retrial.

Then, youngsters Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden were dropped from the squad for breaching coronavirus restrictions after playing against Iceland by meeting women from outside the team’s bio-secure bubble.

Southgate left Greenwood and Foden out of his latest squad, but recalled Maguire. Raheem Sterling has been ruled out of all three games because of an unspecified injury, England said Monday.

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