Celtic's Boli Bolingoli breaks quarantine rules; Scottish government threatens Premiership pause

August 10, 2020

The Scottish government has threatened to "pause" the Premiership season after Celtic's Boli Bolingoli broke coronavirus quarantine rules.

Bolingoli travelled to Spain but did not quarantine on his return before playing in Celtic's 1-1 draw against Kilmarnock on Sunday - something the club were unaware of until after the game.

Bolingoli's indiscretion came just days after Aberdeen's trip to St Johnstone was called off due to two of their players testing positive for coronavirus.

Eight Dons players then issued public apologies for breaking guidelines by visiting a bar following their opening-day defeat to Rangers on August 1.

A Scottish government statement read: "The Scottish government is aware of reports of a Celtic FC player having broken quarantine rules last week.

"We are currently in discussion with the club and football governing bodies to establish the facts.

"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."

Reacting on Twitter, Scottish Justice Minister Humza Yousaf said: "Utterly unacceptable from Bolingoli. With a number of incidents, Scot Govt left with little choice but to consider whether pause is now needed in resumption of the game.

"Operational matter for Border Force & Police Scot, I support whatever enforcement action they deem necessary."

Celtic manager Neil Lennon is furious with Bolingoli, Sky Sports News has been told.

In a statement, the club said: "Celtic Football Club has taken its response to Covid-19 extremely seriously and we are pleased that, to date, we have recorded no positive tests.

"Our staff have given so much in this area, working tirelessly to ensure that all players and other club personnel are safe, fully aware of their own responsibilities and familiar with all guidance and protocols.

"Safety must always be our priority. Clearly, a full investigation will now take place and the club will take all appropriate action.

"Subsequent to the player's return, he has recorded two negative tests in the past week."

Scottish Government officials are set to meet with the SFA/SPFL Joint Response Group on Tuesday morning to discuss the situation with a statement expected to be made later following the meeting.

Bolingoli's team-mate Leigh Griffiths also had to be reminded of his responsibilities recently with regard to coronavirus guidelines after he hosted a birthday party for his girlfriend.

Gerrard: Warning a wake-up call

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard, who was part of a meeting with Scottish government officials on Monday where the safety protocols around coronavirus were again highlighted, described the warning as a "wake-up call".

Speaking to the media ahead of St Johnstone's visit on Wednesday, he said: "It is a wake-up call and a strong message from the government and also a reminder of what could happen if mistakes continue to happen.

"It is a concern and it is a worry because if mistakes continue to happen there's no doubt that the football season will be cancelled. That's not what I want or what anyone wants at Rangers.

"I don't think we're putting any extra measures in but what we are doing is going to remind everyone of our responsibility and our behaviours during this time.

"Up to now I think everyone's done extremely well here at Rangers. The medical department have been fantastic ever since lockdown really, keeping us updated of the situation.

"But it's just reminders really, to the players and to the staff, that we have to behave in the right way and keep doing the right things."

Watch Dundee United vs Hibernian on Tuesday from 5pm on Sky Sports Football; kick-off: 6pm

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