Celtic and Aberdeen – along with nine of their players – have been charged by the Scottish football authorities with breaching coronavirus rules.
Eight Dons players – Jonny Hayes, Mikey Devlin, Scott McKenna, Matty Kennedy, Sam Cosgrove, Dylan McGeouch, Craig Bryson and Bruce Anderson – broke public health guidelines when they visited a city restaurant and pub.
Celtic defender Boli Bolingoli took a trip to Spain without telling his club and failed to quarantine on his return, playing against Kilmarnock days later.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Professional Football League has opened separate disciplinary proceedings against the clubs for alleged breaches of its Covid rules.
The players’ actions brought condemnation from the Scottish Government and led to the football authorities being told that any further breaches would see the game shut down.
Celtic and Aberdeen’s games this week were postponed after the incidents.
The Scottish FA and SPFL announced a strengthening of their rules to deal with the fallout from the pandemic, but the nine players have been charged under the SFA’s existing disciplinary code.
The governing body’s compliance officer has called the players to account for breaking rule 71, which states that “No recognised football body, club, official, Team official or other member of team staff, player, match official, or other person under the jurisdiction of the Scottish FA shall bring the game into disrepute”.
The players have also been charged with breaking rule 24: “A recognised football body, club, official, team official or other member of team staff, player, match official or other person under the jurisdiction of the Scottish FA shall be subject to and shall comply with the articles, the laws of the game and the rules, procedures and regulations, bye-laws and decisions of the Scottish FA.”
The expected punishment for breaking the rule 71is a suspension of at least two matches at the lower end of the scale, rising to an eight-match ban at the top end, though any suspension or expulsion from the game is possible in extreme cases.
Celtic and Aberdeen have both apologised for the actions of their players.
Bolingoli has been fined £480 by police for his behaviour and will be disciplined by Celtic, while Aberdeen’s players have all been fined by the club with the money being donated to the NHS.
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