East Fife refuse to play game after Clyde player returns positive Covid-19 test
East Fife boss Darren Young fully backed his players after they refused to take part in Tuesday night’s away fixture at Clyde following the late news that a member of the Bully Wee squad had returned a positive coronavirus test.
As both teams were making their way out onto the park at Broadwood to start the game, matchday officials and safety officers approached the Bayview management team to advise them that a Clyde player had tested positive for Covid-19.
There was some confusion in the minutes that followed, with both sets of players continuing to warm up before it was announced that kick-off would be delayed by 15 minutes.
Rumours on social media suggested that the referee had ordered the visitors to change to avoid a kit clash, but this theory was shot down by the East Fife social media team.
Despite the rearranged kick-off time, it quickly became apparent that something serious was going on behind the scenes as representatives from both clubs and other officials discussed matters at length at the dugouts.
By this stage both teams had taken to the field, gone back into the dressing rooms, returned to the pitch, and made their way back off again.
Around 7.25pm, both teams received confirmation that the game had been abandoned, despite advice from the Joint Response Group that the match could proceed.
East Fife boss Young said he had spoken to his squad before the call was made.
He said: "One of their players has come back as testing positive [for coronavirus] and found out 40 minutes ago.
"Why it has happened that late towards a game, I don't have a clue.
"The guy in question, whoever that may be, was on one of the team buses up to Peterhead on Saturday [April 24] and may well have passed it on – we don't know.
"He was also in the changing rooms tonight and did the warm-up as well until they found out about the test and sent him away.”
Young admitted that while he might have been fine with the match going ahead, he had to take the players and chairman’s thoughts into consideration.
He continued: "I possibly would have been okay to play but I needed to speak to the players and the chairman.
"The chairman was a no and when I spoke to the players about it, three or four of them have partners who are pregnant, so I definitely could not put them at risk.
"The boys were also saying that if they had played against players who have been around this guy then they might have to self-isolate through the track and trace.
"Will their employer pay them if they can't work for ten or 12 days?
"So that was it and I'll back my players to the hilt. The decision was no."
A statement issued by Clyde in the aftermath of the game read: “The club can confirm that, following a positive Covid-19 test in the squad tonight, a review was conducted by the Joint Response Group, who subsequently confirmed that the match could go ahead.
"However, East Fife took the decision not to fulfil the fixture, leaving the referee with no option but to postpone the match.
"The club will make further comment when possible.”
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.