England

Cheltenham Festival cancels booking in footballer urine row

Samir Carruthers Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Samir Carruthers played for MK Dons in this season's FA Cup defeat against Chelsea

Cheltenham Festival has cancelled a booking from a sports management company after footballers were pictured apparently urinating into a glass.

MK Dons midfielder Samir Carruthers was photographed apparently relieving himself on a balcony at the racecourse.

Northampton Town's James Collins can also apparently be seen pouring a glass of urine over the balcony.

Championship side MK Dons and League Two Northampton Town both said they were investigating Tuesday's incident.

Cheltenham director Ian Renton said the incident was "totally out of place on this racecourse".

A racecourse spokeswoman said the group had been booked in for the race meeting by a sports management company.

'Let down club'

She said the company's booking for the second day of racing, on Wednesday, had now been cancelled. It is not known whether the same group was due to attend.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Carruthers said he had let his club down "massively", as well as the town of Milton Keynes, his team-mates and Cheltenham Racecourse.

"I'm meant to be a role model and I have to live by my actions now and I really am hurt by what I've done," he said. "It was a silly mistake and I just have to take everything that comes with it."

Carruthers said he had been disciplined by the club following a meeting with chairman Pete Winkelman and manager Karl Robinson.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption The racecourse responded to a tweet from @MyParentsFirst asking about the incident

MK Dons said it had "commenced an internal investigation into the matter," involving Carruthers.

Northampton Town said it was investigating a claim that Collins was "involved in a drunken incident at Cheltenham racecourse".

Collins is on loan from Shrewsbury Town, which said it would also investigate.

Bristol City defender Luke Ayling was also photographed with the group.

Bristol City said: "We are aware of the disappointing images from the Cheltenham Festival that have been printed in various national newspapers this morning.

"We will be speaking to the players concerned and will take appropriate action where necessary."

Live: MK Dons deny player threw urine

In a tweet, Cheltenham Racecourse said: "In regards to images of inappropriate behaviour from yesterday, we have cancelled their booking for today."

Carruthers, 22, was surrounded by race goers at the prestigious meet.

Image copyright Reuters

A spokesman for MK Dons - currently one point above the relegation zone in the second tier of English football - said neither Carruthers nor any other MK Dons player had thrown liquid over the balcony.

The four-day Cheltenham Festival is one of the highlights of the horse racing season, with the Queen's granddaughter Zara Tindall and the Countess of Wessex among the guests at this year's event.

Cheltenham director Ian Renton told the BBC: "It's the last thing we want to see on the front of the papers after an extraordinary good day's racing.

"It's totally out of place on this racecourse; it's totally out of place anywhere.

"We have very strict terms and conditions for the general public coming to the racecourse - we expect them to behave and not cause any disturbance to others.

"We had 68,000 people here and in general their behaviour was exemplary."

Gloucestershire Police said it was made aware of the "disgusting and thoughtless act". It added that no police action was being taken.

Police said the balcony where it happened was above a lawn, not near to spectators, and was not easily in public view.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Zara Tindall pictured with racehorse owner Trevor Hemmings at the Cheltenham Festival
Image caption Gloucestershire Police said the balcony - which was one of those pictured - was above a lawn, not spectators

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