The Covid-19 crisis which has engulfed Aberdeen Football Club stemmed from “a clear breach of the rules”, the Scottish Government has said.
It was announced last night the Dons will be without eight first-team players for tomorrow’s Premiership trip to St Johnstone, after two members of the squad tested positive for coronavirus and another six were forced to self-isolate due contact with those players.
The decision followed consultations between the SFA/SPFL Joint Response Group and the Scottish Government.
The eight players will also miss a home game against Hamilton on Wednesday and a trip to play Celtic at Parkhead next weekend.
A scathing Government statement said they were “disappointed by the actions of these individuals who have put at risk the return of professional football in Scotland”.
The Reds players were thought to be training in a “bubble”, going between their homes and the bio-secure environment of Cormack Park for training. Training was cancelled yesterday due to worries over the outbreak.
It is thought some or all of the players affected were out in Aberdeen city centre on Saturday night. On Wednesday, lockdown restrictions were tightened for the Granite City due to a local spike in Covid cases.
The Government statement also revealed Public Health Minister Joe Fitzpatrick will meet with football chiefs today to discuss the matter: “In light of the ongoing public health situation and the local restrictions that are in place to contain the spread of Covid-19 in Aberdeen City, Minister for Public Health and Sport Joe Fitzpatrick has called a meeting with the SFA and SPFL to discuss the situation at Aberdeen Football Club.
“The Scottish Government is clear that it is only by following the rules and keeping people safe that football is able to continue. No-one wants to see the season put at risk.
“Officials will also be meeting with all club captains and managers in the next few days to emphasise the guidelines and their importance.”
Meanwhile, Reds chairman Dave Cormack, who earlier promised a “full investigation” and said players and staff had been reminded of the rules, has released a plea to supporters for “patience” with the affected players and an “opportunity to reflect on what we just went through”.
Got the JRG decision on affected players 30 mins before it went public. Don’t have all the facts. Asking fans for their patience and trust. Please give the players the time they need to ensure they are healthy & to allow us time to review and reflect on what happened. Stand Free! pic.twitter.com/yNy2nqYjuY
— Dave Cormack (@CormackDavie) August 7, 2020