Scottish professional football could be halted altogether following a warning from justice minister Humza Yousaf after it emerged Celtic defender Boli Bolingoli took a secret trip to Spain and failed to self-isolate on his return.
The left-back played during Celtic’s 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock at the weekend, but had travelled to Spain prior to the game and failed to follow Scottish Government rules to quarantine for two weeks on his return.
Mr Yousaf, posting on Twitter, said the incident left the government “little choice” but to consider a halt to Scottish football.
The incident comes a week after eight Aberdeen players, two of whom tested positive for Covid-19, were scalded by Nicola Sturgeon for breaching so-called ‘sporting bubble’ rules when they went to a bar in the city which was then linked to the outbreak in Aberdeen.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had warned Scottish football’s privileges to play during the safety restrictions would be put at risk if a similar situation arose.
Mr 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.”
A statement from Bolingoli’s club read: “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.”
The Scottish football authorities are now holding more talks with the government.
“The Scottish Government is aware of reports of a Celtic FC player having broken quarantine rules last week,” a government spokesperson said.
“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.”
Additional reporting by the Press Association
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism.
Subscribe to scotsman.com and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. Visit https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.
Subscribe to the Edinburgh Evening News online and enjoy unlimited access to trusted, fact-checked news and sport from Edinburgh and the Lothians. Visit https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.
By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.