19.11.2023 18:07 h

Three Czechs sent home after night club trip ahead of Euro qualifier

West Ham defender Vladimir Coufal was one of three Czech Republic players sent home after being caught in a night club ahead a crucial final Euro 2024 qualifier against Moldova, the team said on Sunday.

Coufal, as well as sweeper Jakub Brabec from Greek side Aris Thessaloniki and Sparta Prague striker Jan Kuchta, "fundamentally violated the internal rules on Saturday night", the national team said on X (formerly Twitter).

"They have left the national team camp with immediate effect," it added.

The Sport daily said on its website the three players were caught at the Belmondo night club in the central city of Olomouc where the team will take on Moldova on Monday.

It ran photos depicting the three alongside Tomas Neumann, a member of the Czech Football Association's executive committee.

The Czech Republic sits second in Group E seeking at least a point from the Moldova game to qualify for the tournament in Germany next year.

Coach Jaroslav Silhavy, who is himself facing criticism after a streak of lacklustre displays, including a recent 3-0 loss to Albania in a qualifier, said the misdemeanour was "a big disappointment and a big complication".

All three were in the starting line-up for the last qualifier in which the Czechs drew 1-1 with Poland in Warsaw on Friday.

"We expected the guys to be ready for the game and to play" against Moldova, Silhavy told reporters.

"They regretted it too, they apologised to the team but that's simply just too little."

"They realised what they had done. They were terribly sorry, but it happened and they have to bear the consequences," added Silhavy, who had led the Czechs to the Euro 2020 quarter-finals.

The Czech team has not missed a single Euro tournament since the Czech Republic emerged as an independent country in 1993.