Pittodrie chairman Dave Cormack hopes the club, fans and players can begin to heal from the public humiliation and loss of trust caused by the Aberdeen eight.
Following an internal investigation, Cormack confirmed the eight Aberdeen players who attended a busy city centre bar, against government guidance and the club’s Covid-19 procedures, have been “heavily fined and reprimanded”.
Contractually Aberdeen cannot divulge the value of the fines dished out to the eight – Jonny Hayes, Sam Cosgrove, Scott McKenna, Mikey Devlin, Matty Kennedy, Craig Bryson, Dylan McGeouch and Bruce Anderson.
However, all cash will be donated to NHS Grampian.
Cormack condemned the eight for letting supporters down who, despite their own health and financial worries, have backed the club with “hard-earned cash” during the pandemic.
Now the punishments have been dispensed, Cormack hopes the players can redeem themselves. He said: “These players made a huge mistake.
“They not only went against government guidance but also breached our own Covid-19 procedures, set out by the club to all players and staff.
“Due to the privilege that has been afforded to professional footballers, and having witnessed the outrage and anger their actions provoked, they are in no doubt they have let themselves and the club down.
“As a result of our investigation, these players have been severely reprimanded and fined heavily.”
Regulations require players in the Premiership, which has been given special dispensation to return amid the pandemic, to maintain a sporting bubble by limiting outside contact.
Government rules on August 1 also meant groups should be kept to a maximum of three households indoors.
Two Aberdeen players subsequently tested positive for the virus while the other six were forced to self-isolate for 14 days.
As a result of the breach, Aberdeen’s game last weekend at St Johnstone was postponed.
That match has been rescheduled for Thursday.
Following another breach by Celtic’s Boli Bolingoli, who travelled to Spain and did not self-isolate, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon issued a “yellow card” to Scottish football as a warning that any future breaches could result in a shutdown of football.
Soon after that warning there came confirmation from the Joint Response Group that Aberdeen’s games against Hamilton (Pittodrie, Wednesday) and Celtic (Parkhead, today) were postponed.
Cormack continued: “They are truly sorry and have apologised unreservedly to the first minister, health and footballing authorities, the fans, the manager, the rest of the squad, our staff and board and the wider community.
“We fully appreciate the outpouring of dismay and anger by those who have been impacted by this virus, by those who have worked selflessly to protect us and by our fans, who have, despite health and financial worries, supported the club with their hard-earned cash during this period.”
Cormack revealed the eight players continue to receive personal abuse and he hopes that will stop, and they will be allowed the opportunity to redeem their shattered reputations. He said: “The club, like every employer, has a duty of care to its staff and we must also consider the wellbeing of these players, who continue to face a barrage of criticism and personal abuse.
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) August 14, 2020
“They’ve been taught the harshest of lessons and have the chance to redeem themselves and help demonstrate that the club is better and bigger than this regrettable episode.”
Throughout the pandemic the Dons, alongside the club’s Community Trust, have helped vulnerable and isolated people within the community.
Cormack said: “I can only hope that Dons fans and the Aberdeen community will remember the tremendously positive work the club and trust, including staff, volunteers and the players, have delivered during this pandemic, and help us all heal from this.”