Manchester United boss Casey Stoney has said she is “sincerely sorry” for giving her players permission to travel to Dubai over the festive period.
The apology came as her side’s Women’s Super League game at Everton on Sunday was postponed because of Covid-19 cases and injuries in the hosts’ camp.
Stoney, whose side were covered by tier three rules at the time, said the break was within government guidelines.
But she added: “On reflection, it was a poor error of judgement from me.”
Stoney confirmed that at least one of her players had been to Dubai, the destination visited by other WSL players, including from Manchester City and Arsenal – whose matches this weekend have been called off because of positive coronavirus tests.
“We felt we were making an informed decision. On reflection, it wasn’t a good decision and I’ll admit that,” she said.
There have been no Covid-19 cases reported in United’s squad.
Everton issued a statement on Friday confirming five of their players had contracted the virus between Christmas and New Year.
It added: “While those players returned to training this week – and the rest of Willie Kirk’s squad tested negative – club medical staff confirmed this morning the five players are unable to be passed fit to play this weekend.
“With five women’s players also out injured, another member of the squad was confirmed to have suffered a stress fracture following a scan this morning, leaving Everton Women with only 13 players available for the game against Manchester United.”
Saturday’s matches between Arsenal and Aston Villa and Manchester City against West Ham had already been called off because of Covid-19 cases.
New dates for the matches are yet to be announced.
Arsenal requested a postponement after a player tested positive for Covid-19 on her return from Dubai.
Manchester City reported four players, who had also visited the United Arab Emirates, had tested positive earlier this week.
In a statement earlier in the week, the Football Association said both City and Arsenal had shown they would be unable to name a minimum of 14 players for their fixtures.
“With the health of players and staff the priority, the FA has decided that these matches will now be rescheduled,” the statement said. “We wish those with Covid-19 a safe and speedy recovery.”
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