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Hibs chief insists club did everything they could to avoid Covid cases

Ben Kensell says the club have only eight fit first team players.

Hibs chief insists club did everything they could to avoid Covid cases SNS Group
Games against Ross County and Livingston have been postponed.

Hibernian chief executive Ben Kensell has insisted that his staff and players did everything they could to prevent the Covid outbreak that led to their next two games being postponed.

Hibs have just eight players fit and available after the virus spread through their training base.

A total of 15 players and four staff have returned positive tests for Covid but many more have been identified as close contacts after the squad travelled on two buses to Dingwall at the weekend before their match against Ross County was called off.

A report from a whistleblower claimed that the squad was not following protocols on that trip but Kensell says an investigation carries out in conjunction with NHS Lothian, proves they did things the right way.

Asked if he felt the club had done everything it could in accordance with Covid guidelines, the chief executive said: “Absolutely. I’ve made sure we’ve been thorough in our investigation by going back through the events and we’ve been on a call with NHS Lothian to ensure we’ve done everything we needed to do.

“We were informed as a club that we did follow the right guidance in terms of two coaches travelling up, tests every day in the week. In many ways we went above and beyond, but that’s not something we should be proud of. It’s just something we should be doing as a professional club.

“We’ve managed it as early as possible and done what we needed to do to make sure there is no further spread. We believe we’ve contained it now within both the first-team squad and the development team and we’ve shut down HTC (the training ground). Everyone who is affected is self-isolating.”

When asked about the newspaper report that claimed players had not been wearing masks at their hotel last weekend, Kensell said: “I’m confident in our processes and having investigated the claims, I trust our staff and our players to do what is required to mitigate the spread of Covid.

“They’re aware of their responsibilities. I don’t want to focus on a comment from someone who is looking to create trouble. I’m not interested in questions about tabloid speculation. I’m only interested in the welfare of our staff, players and fans.”

The re-arranged game against Ross County on Wednesday night, and this weekend’s Premiership game against Livingston have been postponed after Hibs made an application to the SPFL.

Rules for league games state that a club must have 13 players fit and available, one of whom is a goalkeeper and 10 of whom are over the age of 18.