Belgian footballer Tuur Dierckx has been sent to prison for hosting a lockdown party with four other players, according to reports.
Dierckx, the KVC Westerlo striker who previously enjoyed spells with Club Brugge and Royal Antwerp, is said to have been sentenced to a month behind bars for flouting coronavirus restrictions at the end of last year.
According to Belgian outlet Nieuwsblad, a court heard how police raided his flat in the city back in December after neighbours reported a late-night party.
They reportedly arrived to find 14 guests at his gathering, which included four other footballers and three women from Holland.
Dierckx told a judge that he has recently spent a day seeing Covid-19 patients receive treatment at a hospital and has acknowledged his error in hosting the party.
Nevertheless, prosecutors are understood to have called for him to be locked up for three months and slapped with a £3,600 fine.
The court instead sentenced him to a month-long prison term and a £688 fine, while his guests were fined smaller amounts between £344 and £516, according to Belgian TV channel RTBF.
Dierckx’s lawyer Carl de Munck is quoted saying: “It was a harsh sentence, but in line with the verdicts in similar cases.”
Westerlo, who play in Belgium’s second tier, will now have to make do without their star striker for a month.
The club’s managing director Wim van Hove added: “We don’t want to downplay what happened, but we think it is a stiff punishment. It clearly seems to be similar to comparable cases, so it is only logical.
“We won’t punish Tuur any further. We have already come down hard on him and fined him an undisclosed amount.”
Coronavirus rules in Belgium currently state that people may only have one close personal contact from outside of their household who they can invite inside.
It is believed that Dierckx will not be appealing the verdict.