Cheltenham Festival: Organisers ban footballers' booking after urinating incident

MK Dons' Samir Carruthers
MK Dons' Samir Carruthers
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Cheltenham has cancelled the booking of a group of footballers after pictures said to show one of the players urinating into a beer glass on the first day of the Festival were published.

MK Dons midfielder Samir Carruthers is said to have been caught by a photographer as he relieved himself on a balcony while surrounded by racegoers.

The series of images printed in The Sun appear to then show a glass of liquid being poured over the railing by another man as Carruthers, 22, wearing a grey flat cap and waistcoat, grins.

Cheltenham has now moved to block the party from attending day two of the Festival, with the track tweeting: "In regards to images of inappropriate behaviour from yesterday, we have cancelled their booking for today."

Sophia Dale, the Festival's head of communications, added on Sky Sports News HQ: "It was just this small group of people who made this incident happen and they are not welcome today."

MK Dons have launched an investigation into the pictures and said that while Carruthers was involved, neither he nor any other MK Dons player threw it over the balcony.

MK Dons said in a statement: "The club is aware of pictures circulating in the national media of one of its players at the Cheltenham Festival. The club has commenced an internal investigation into the matter."

Bristol City defender Luke Ayling was also pictured alongside Carruthers, with his arm around the Dons player at one point.

While there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing from the 24-year-old, the Robins said in a statement: "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."

Northampton have also launched an investigation as another player, James Collins, on loan from Shrewsbury, was also involved in the incident.

The club statement read: "Northampton Town Football Club have launched an investigation into claims that forward James Collins, currently on loan from Shrewsbury Town, was involved in a drunken incident at Cheltenham racecourse.

"As a club we take any such claims extremely seriously, and we expect the highest standards of behaviour at all times.

"We are unable to comment further until this investigation has been completed."

Collins has scored six goals in 12 appearances for the Cobblers since arriving on loan from Shrewsbury in early January, helping the club open up an 11-point lead at the top of Sky Bet League Two.

Collins' parent club Shrewsbury have confirmed they will also be investigating the incident.

A club statement read: "Shrewsbury Town Football Club have been made aware of an alleged incident involving player James Collins, currently on loan at Northampton Town, at Cheltenham Racecourse.

"Shrewsbury Town will fully investigate the alleged incident and no further comment will be made until the investigation processed has been finalised."