Aberdeen’s home Premiership clash with Hamilton Accies on Wednesday night remains in doubt after professor Jason Leitch, the national clinical director, said he could not guarantee the game can go ahead.
Professor Leitch, pictured, held a video conference meeting with managers and captains from all 12 Premiership clubs yesterday in response to eight Aberdeen players breaking return to training and playing protocols brought in by the Scottish government to facilitate professional football’s return.
These talks were described as “constructive” but it is still not certain if Aberdeen can return to playing on Wednesday night as scheduled. Last Saturday’s clash with St Johnstone was postponed on the eve of the game. Aberdeen are also due to travel to face Celtic on Saturday.
The city of Aberdeen’s temporary lockdown, imposed after a cluster of Covid-19 cases emerged with links to a bar, is due to be reviewed by the Scottish government tomorrow – the day Derek McInnes’ side plan to host Hamilton.
“It certainly is not confirmed,” said Professor Leitch when asked specifically about Wednesday’s match with Hamilton on the Go Radio Football Show last night. “Everybody is hopeful. Everybody is hopeful that Aberdeen city will get through this outbreak and get out the other end of it. But we have some important decisions to make on Wednesday for the population at large.”
Rod Petrie, the SFA president, has issued an assurance to the Scottish Government that Aberdeen and the rest of Scottish football will heed the harsh lessons following the recent break in protocol.
Eight Aberdeen first-team players went out for a meal following the 1-0 defeat by Rangers on the opening day of the season and then went on for a drink in a nearby city centre bar. Two players later tested positive for Covid-19.
They and the other six players are currently self-isolating and will not be available for Wednesday’s game if it does go ahead.
Aberdeen have provided
Scottish football’s Joint Response Group with a comprehensive protocol document to highlight the stringent measures undertaken at Cormack Park, the club’s training ground, and at Pittodrie to ensure ongoing compliance with the relevant guidelines.
“Harsh lessons have been learned by Aberdeen that will have been heeded by the rest of Scottish football and that message was made clear to Professor Leitch this evening,” said Petrie, chair of the Joint Response Group, last night.
“The events of last week were deeply regrettable but the JRG commends the immediate response by the Aberdeen owner, David Cormack, and the manager, Derek McInnes, in dealing with the matter and providing Government with the necessary confidence that there will be no repeat.
“Scottish football must continue to work together to ensure the national game remains a safe and secure environment for all participants, but it must also be mindful of its role in promoting and protecting public health messages, behaviours and obligations.
“The JRG is thankful to Professor Leitch, as well as the managers and captains of Scottish Premiership clubs, for facilitating a video call to reinforce the message that Scottish football is serious in its commitment to helping the country emerge from the Covid crisis as safely as possible.”
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