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St Mirren to challenge Covid sanctions

St Mirren v Celtic – Scottish Premiership – Simple Digital Arena
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

St Mirren have launched an appeal against the Scottish Professional Football League’s decision to award them two 3-0 defeats after breaching Covid regulations.

The Buddies were forced to cancel clashes against Motherwell and Hamilton after a coronavirus outbreak left boss Jim Goodwin unable to name a team.

Saints chiefs hoped the two matches would be replayed, but instead a Hampden disciplinary panel decided to hand their opponents walk-over victories, while also issuing a suspended £4,000 fine.

That has infuriated the Paisley outfit, who have announced they will now challenge that ruling.

In a statement, the club said: “St Mirren Football Club can today confirm that it will be appealing the decision of the SPFL tribunal on Thursday December 3 2020.

“The club is unable to make any further comment on this matter until the proceedings are complete, at which point we will update our supporters.”

Saints were punished along with Kilmarnock, who also saw a game with Motherwell cancelled after seeing their entire squad forced into quarantine.

A sub-committee of the SPFL board, chaired by an independent senior solicitor and involving a sheriff “highly experienced in sports disputes”, heard both clubs’ cases on November 10-11 after Covid-19 outbreaks forced the postponement of three league matches in October.

An SPFL statement declared that St Mirren had admitted breaches, including a failure to implement the necessary physical distancing on a coach to an away game and during a pre-match meal. They also “failed to provide suitable facilities to enable players to observe physical distancing at training”.

The written verdict also revealed that 10 players were sharing an eight-metre bench. Saints also accepted that players had been car-sharing to and from training, with up to four in one vehicle.

The decision not to replay the matches and hand relegation rivals the points saw St Mirren slip to the bottom of the table. Goodwin’s men trail nearest rivals Ross County by a point but have a game in hand.