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Aberdeen and Celtic face league sanctions following player coronavirus breaches

Aberdeen v Celtic – William Hill Scottish Cup – Semi Final – Hampden Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Aberdeen and Celtic face disciplinary action in addition to their respective players who broke coronavirus protocols.

The Scottish Football Association has announced that the eight Aberdeen players who breached guidelines, plus Celtic left-back Boli Bolingoli, will face two charges: one of failing to comply with regulations and another of bringing the game into disrepute. Hearings have been set for August 28.

The Scottish Professional Football League has also opened disciplinary proceedings against both clubs for alleged breaches of its Covid-19 requirements and testing regulations.

The Scottish football authorities had promised 24 hours earlier to strengthen existing rules to include the provision of sanctions for players who do not adhere to coronavirus-related rules or guidelines. Both the SFA charges are alleged breaches of existing rules while the SPFL has provided few details.

Boli Bolingoli (right) in action at Kilmarnock

Boli Bolingoli (right) in action at Kilmarnock (PA)

Aberdeen earlier announced they had fined the eight players who breached coronavirus protocols by going on a night out: Jonny Hayes, Scott McKenna, Sam Cosgrove, Craig Bryson, Bruce Anderson, Dylan McGeouch, Matty Kennedy and Michael Devlin.

Two of the players tested positive for Covid-19 and a further six were instructed to self-isolate for 14 days, leading to the postponement of three matches.

Celtic have had two games postponed after Bolingoli travelled to Spain for 24 hours and failed to quarantine himself on his return or tell his club. He played against Kilmarnock five days later. Two Celtic games have been postponed as a result, including Saturday’s scheduled visit of Aberdeen.

Bolingoli was fined by the police and is the subject of disciplinary action from the club and has been linked with a loan move to French side Amiens having seemingly burned his bridges at Celtic.

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But Aberdeen are looking to move on from the furore that surrounded their players’ decision to go out for a meal and then move on to a bar.

Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack said in a statement: “As a result of our investigation, these players have been severely reprimanded and fined heavily. Contractually, the specifics must remain confidential between the club and each player but, rest assured, the financial fines are in line with the severity of the consequences of their actions.

“The club has chosen to donate these fines to NHS Grampian.

“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.

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“Their actions were indefensible but the investigation has been completed, they have apologised, they have been punished by the club, and are suffering the humiliation that goes with making a mistake in the public eye.

“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 an ongoing barrage of criticism and personal abuse from many quarters. 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.

“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.”

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Meanwhile, Hull have continued to train at Hearts’ training ground after the Edinburgh club were ordered to halt their pre-season preparations on Thursday, 10 days into their programme.

Hearts were “incensed” after Scottish football’s Joint Response Group (JRG) announced lower-league teams could not train until August 24 at the earliest.

The decision came as the SFA and SPFL attempted to assuage the Scottish Government following the high-profile breaches of coronavirus protocols.

However, Hull are free to carry on training at Oriam, near Edinburgh, under agreement from Scotland’s national performance centre as they do not fall under the JRG’s authority.