10:02 AM ET
Manchester City have launched an investigation after Kyle Walker apologised for allegedly hosting a party with sex workers during the coronavirus lockdown.
The England defender is facing disciplinary procedures after a report in The Sun newspaper claimed he and a friend paid for two sex workers to visit his Cheshire home just hours after issuing a plea to his social media followers to follow UK government advice and “keep following the protocols” during the pandemic.
A statement issued by Walker, 29, read: “I want to take this opportunity to issue a public apology for the choices I made last week which have resulted in a story today about my private life in a tabloid newspaper.
“I understand that my position as a professional footballer brings the responsibility of being a role model. As such, I want to apologise to my family, friends, football club, supporters and the public for letting them down.
“There are heroes out there making a vital difference to society at the moment, and I have been keen to help support and highlight their amazing sacrifices and life-saving work over the past week.
“My actions in this matter are in direct contrast to what I should have been doing regarding the lockdown. And I want to re-iterate the message: Stay home, stay safe.”
Walker and the rest of the City squad are training at home following the suspension of the Premier League. He has not played since the Carabao Cup final victory over Aston Villa on March 1 and is facing a club fine after City said they were “disappointed” with the allegations.
A City statement read: “Manchester City FC are aware of a story in a tabloid newspaper regarding the private life of Kyle Walker in relation to a breach of the UK lockdown and social distancing rules.
“Footballers are global role models, and our staff and players have been working to support the incredible efforts of the NHS and other key workers in fighting the effects of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, in any way we can. Kyle’s actions in this matter have directly contravened these efforts.
“We are disappointed to hear the allegations, note Kyle’s swift statement and apology, and will be conducting an internal disciplinary procedure in the coming days.”