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Three Scottish Premiership fixtures postponed as Celtic condemn defender's Spain trip

Celtic were due to face Aberdeen this weekend, who had their own breaches of protocol.

Celtic's Belgian defender Boli Bolingoli.
Celtic's Belgian defender Boli Bolingoli.
Image: Jeff Holmes

Updated Aug 11th 2020, 3:30 PM

THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT threatened to call a halt to the new Premiership season due to another breach of the strict coronavirus quarantine rules, but for now have postponed forthcoming matches for Celtic and Aberdeen.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon demanded the move and so Celtic’s match against St Mirren, Aberdeen’s meeting with Hamilton Academical and this weekend’s scheduled clash between Celtic and Aberdeen have all been chalked off.

Celtic’s Belgian defender Boli Bolingoli admitted he had not observed quarantine protocols after a trip to Spain.

Anyone returning to Scotland from Spain must spend two weeks in quarantine, but Bolingoli played in the Scottish champions’ 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock on Sunday, the team’s second match of the season.

He has apologised for his behaviour and Celtic have launched an investigation.

The Scottish government had already expressed their fury at eight Aberdeen players who visiting a bar last week. Two of them tested positive, forcing the postponement of last Saturday’s Premiership game with St Johnstone.

The government said if they felt protocol had been broken, then they could press the pause button on the season.

“We are currently in discussion with the club (Celtic) and football governing bodies to establish the facts,” the administration said in a statement earlier.

“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.”

Bolingoli said he wanted to apologise to his manager, team mates, supporters, “and so many others for letting them down so badly”.

“I am guilty of a major error of judgement,” the 25-year-old added.

I know what I did was wrong and I know that I must now deal with the consequences.”

Celtic have condemned his actions and said it took its response to Covid-19 “extremely seriously” and that it had not recorded any positive tests.

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“Celtic Football Club unreservedly condemns and apologises for the behaviour of the player Boli Bolingoli in travelling to Spain without informing the club and in failing to observe quarantine restrictions,” a club statement reads.

“It is difficult to imagine a more irresponsible action in current circumstances and we find it beyond explanation. The club will take immediate action through our own disciplinary procedures.

“Celtic are in touch with every SPFL club today, and with all relevant authorities, to apologise for the fact that one of our employees has created so much additional difficulty through his actions.

“All of our playing and backroom staff have been tested twice for Covid-19 since this incident and all, including the player in question, have tested negative. While this comes as a relief to all concerned, it in no way diminishes the seriousness or stupidity of the player’s actions.

Since the Covid -19 crisis began, we have had a safe and healthy squad of players, recording not one positive test. As a club, we have worked tirelessly to ensure a sustained, safe environment for all.

“We have led the way in working with the football authorities and Scottish Government to establish the most rigorous, effective protocols and working practices, which ultimately led to the resumption of football. We could have done no more in this area.

“It is a matter of the deepest regret to us that the behaviour of one individual has jeopardised that reputation and reflected discredit on football more generally.”

© – AFP 2020 

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