Man Utd's Stoney sorry for 'error in judgement' amid WSL travel woe

Manchester United manager Casey Stoney has said letting players travel abroad during the Christmas break was a "poor error in judgment" on her part but added that clubs who did let players travel shouldn't have requested postponements of games.

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The Women's Super League has been embroiled in controversy after it was revealed Manchester City had allowed four players to travel to Dubai for a holiday while several Arsenal players also travelled there without the club's permission.

Both clubs requested and received postponements of their first games back after a number of players who travelled tested positive for COVID-19, sparking anger among players and fans.

No players in the United squad have tested positive since returning from their travels.

"I have to be honest and on reflection, it was probably a poor error in judgement from me," Stoney told a news conference on Friday.

"I am sincerely sorry for that because the buck stops with me and it starts with me and I am responsible for that.

"Everything was considered as a club with player needs. That's why it was approved.

"I am human and I made a mistake. I am taking responsibility for it."

Despite allowing her players to travel, Stoney said she would never have asked for a postponement of games if players had tested positive for the virus as it would have damaged the integrity of the game.

"I wouldn't want to call a game off. Obviously I'm saying we've potentially made poor decisions over Christmas. Had that come back to us, I still wouldn't have wanted to call the game off because of the integrity of what we're doing," she added.

"I want my players to play if and if I'm the one saying we are prepared to allow people to go and I'm saying it's a risk that I'm ok to take for their needs, their emotional needs, I'm not going to call a game off because it is my decision and why should the rest of my players suffer?

"So, for the integrity of the competition I would never ask for a postponement."

The United boss also said she was "confused" about why their game against Everton on Sunday had been called off late on Friday due to positive tests in the Everton squad after manager Willie Kirk said earlier in the day the side had no positive cases.

"I find it fascinating," she said. "I read an interview with Willie Kirk which said they had no positive tests but our game has been called off. I'm confused. I am genuinely confused.

"I don't know how you can do an interview and say you have no negative tests and everyone has done everything right at Christmas and then you call a game off because of COVID. I am genuinely confused."

In a statement, Everton said that five players had contracted the virus, and coupled with a rash of injuries, had left the squad with only 13 players available.