Aston Villa have banned their players from taking part in Fantasy Football competitions after Jack Grealish’s absence for Sunday’s defeat by Leicester was leaked online.
Villa lost at home with captain Grealish not involved for the first time in almost 50 Premier League games.
According to The Times, there is concern from the Villa Park hierarchy that Grealish’s absence was leaked online by a Fantasy Football account.
Millions of people around the world play Fantasy Premier League, where teams are selected from real players, who can be substituted or sold, with points awarded for achievements such as goals scored, assists or clean sheets.
And prior to the match, a social media account called ‘FPL Insider’ revealed that players Matt Targett, Conor Hourihane and Neil Taylor all transferred Grealish out of their Fantasy Premier League sides, as well as some members of staff.
After the defeat, boss Dean Smith said that the club would be investigating how news of Grealish’s training ground injury leaked.
“I was made aware on social media there were rumours he was not going to play,” Smith said.
“If that is coming out of our training ground I will find out where it is coming from and reprimand whoever it is coming from. It is something I would not be happy with.”
Speaking on Drivetime, guest co-host Charlie Austin gave his reaction to the news, saying: “It’s only a bit of fun, fantasy football.
“If you’re looking into the depths of whether by Aston Villa staff or players taking him out of their team for the weekend that’s resulted in people second guessing; then for me it’s a strange one.”