Football

Four West Brom players under probe over cab theft in Spain

Evans, Barry, Myhill and Livermore admitted breaking team curfew while on a warm-weather training camp

Four senior West Brom players apologised after being questioned by police in Spain over their alleged involvement in the theft of a taxi, an embarrassment which manager Alan Pardew described as “not ideal”.

Jonny Evans, Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill admitted they had broken a team curfew when they took a taxi from Barcelona city centre at 5.30am on Thursday morning.

A source from the Catalan police in the city, the Mossos d’Esquadra, said: “There were four people who wanted to go out in the city centre.

“Everything was closed so they got a taxi to a Mcdonalds by the Barcelona port. At some moment the driver left the car for some reason and the four people took control of the car.

“They eventually returned it to their hotel and we got a call from the receptionist saying they had parked outside the hotel. This happened at 5.30am. The taxi was returned to its owner at 8am,” the police source said.

“The four people were not arrested but they are under investigation. They were called into the police station about a crime of vehicle theft and made statements. Their statements have been sent to an investigative judge.”

Under Spanish law, the examining magistrate investigates accusations brought in a criminal complaint before moving into a trial phase. The case is unlikely to go to trial, with such cases usually being settled with a fine.

The four players said in a statement: “We felt it important we identify ourselves as the players involved in an incident which occurred during the training camp in Spain this week out of respect for teammates who otherwise could be implicated by association.

“We freely acknowledge and apologise for the break of curfew which we accept represented a breach of the standards of professionalism required of us as representatives of West Bromwich Albion FC.

“The Club has informed us that it will now conduct its own inquiry into the incident and we will co-operate fully.”

West Brom, who sit bottom of the Premier League, seven points adrift of safety, had been on a warm-weather training camp in the Catalan capital.

“We have gone there to try to get ourselves up and ready for this run-in, and this is obviously not ideal,” said Baggies manager Pardew ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup tie against Southampton.

“They break a curfew, and that is unacceptable, and I feel a bit let down by that.”

Earlier this week, the club sacked chairman John Williams and chief executive Martin Goodman due to poor results on the field this season. – AFP, REUTERS

West bromGareth BarryJonny EvansJake LivermoreBoaz Myhill