Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho has been forced to apologize after he was pictured conducting a training session with Spurs midfielder Tanguy Ndombele on Hadley Common in London, against government regulations during the coronavirus lockdown.
The British government’s orders specify that outdoor exercising is forbidden with anyone other than oneself or members of one’s immediate household.
“I accept that my actions were not in line with government protocol and we must only have contact with members of our own household,” Mourinho said in a statement released through the club. “It is vital we all play our part and follow government advice in order to support our heroes in the NHS and save lives.”
In addition to Mourinho and Ndombele, Ryan Sessegnon and Davinson Sanchez were also pictured running together in another area of the Hadley Common at the same time, failing to respect the government order or the required social distancing guidelines. Serge Aurier also posted a picture of himself to social media running with another unidentified individual.
“All of our players have been reminded to respect social distancing when exercising outdoors,” a Tottenham spokesperson added to Mourinho’s statement. “We shall continue to reinforce this message.”
“My concern is people, particularly children, who might support Spurs or follow football, may see these images, pick up a paper, watch the internet and think ‘well if it’s ok for them, why isn’t it ok for me?’” said London mayor Sadiq Khan to the BBC Wednesday morning. “I don’t think it is necessary to be training in close proximity with another player who may be carrying the virus. And what you’re doing is inadvertently, unintentionally, potentially spreading the virus – you shouldn’t be doing that.”
Mourinho’s workout with Ndombele is especially notable as Mourinho has harshly criticized Ndombele’s performances in the recent past, most notably after substituting the midfielder off at halftime of Tottenham’s 1-1 draw against Burnley in early March, just before the coronavirus shutdown.