Celtic probe defender flying to Spain before Kilmarnock match; Scottish government says it could result in “pause” to Premiership season
By Anthony Joseph and Charles Paterson
Last Updated: 11/08/20 9:36am
The Scottish government has threatened to “pause” the Premiership season after Celtic’s Boli Bolingoli broke coronavirus quarantine rules.
Bolingoli travelled to Spain but did not quarantine on his return before playing in Celtic’s 1-1 draw against Kilmarnock on Sunday – something the club were unaware of until after the game.
Bolingoli’s indiscretion came just days after Aberdeen’s trip to St Johnstone was called off due to two of their players testing positive for coronavirus.
Eight Dons players then issued public apologies for breaking guidelines by visiting a bar following their opening-day defeat to Rangers on August 1.
A Scottish government statement read: “The Scottish government is aware of reports of a Celtic FC player having broken quarantine rules last week.
“We are currently in discussion with the club and football governing bodies to establish the facts.
“If confirmed as another serious incident within Scottish football, where protocols have been breached at the risk of wider public health, then the Scottish government will have little choice but to consider whether a pause is now needed in the resumption of the game in Scotland.”
Scottish Premiership under threat – a timeline
- Aug 1: Scottish Premiership season starts. Aberdeen lose opener 1-0 to Rangers. Eight players visit Aberdeen city centre bar after the defeat.
- Aug 5: Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announces lockdown measures to be reimposed in Aberdeen after spike in coronavirus cases.
- Aug 7: Aberdeen’s match at St Johnstone called off at request of government after two Dons players test positive for coronavirus after bar visit on Aug 1 that breached social distancing rules. Six more players ordered to self-isolate.
- Aug 8: Eight Aberdeen players – Jonny Hayes, Michael Devlin, Scott McKenna, Matty Kennedy, Sam Cosgrove, Dylan McGeouch, Craig Bryson and Bruce Anderson – issue apology for bar visit.
- Aug 8: Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths reminded of responsibilities after hosting birthday party for his girlfriend that breached government guidelines.
- Aug 11: Scottish government threatens to to ‘pause’ the Premiership after news emerges that Celtic’s Boli Bolingoli broke quarantine rules.
Reacting on Twitter, Scottish Justice Minister Humza Yousaf said: “Utterly unacceptable from Bolingoli. With a number of incidents, Scot Govt left with little choice but to consider whether pause is now needed in resumption of the game.
“Operational matter for Border Force & Police Scot, I support whatever enforcement action they deem necessary.”
Celtic manager Neil Lennon is furious with Bolingoli, Sky Sports News has been told.
In a statement, the club said: “Celtic Football Club has taken its response to Covid-19 extremely seriously and we are pleased that, to date, we have recorded no positive tests.
“Our staff have given so much in this area, working tirelessly to ensure that all players and other club personnel are safe, fully aware of their own responsibilities and familiar with all guidance and protocols.
“Safety must always be our priority. Clearly, a full investigation will now take place and the club will take all appropriate action.
“Subsequent to the player’s return, he has recorded two negative tests in the past week.”
Bolingoli’s team-mate Leigh Griffiths also had to be reminded of his responsibilities recently with regard to coronavirus guidelines after he hosted a birthday party for his girlfriend.
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Source : Sky Sports