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SPFL charge East Fife for refusing to play after positive Covid test

The team took the decision not to play Clyde after an opposition player tested positive.

SPFL charge East Fife for refusing to play after positive Covid test SNS Group

East Fife Football Club are to face disciplinary proceedings after refusing to play a fixture when an opposition player tested positive for coronavirus.

The League One side were scheduled to play Clyde at Broadwood on Tuesday night but kick-off was delayed after news that a Clyde player has returned a positive result from a test taken on Saturday.

Scottish football’s Joint Response Group was consulted and said that the game could go ahead but after a discussion between players and management, East Fife opted not to play the match.

The Scottish Professional Football League began an investigation on Wednesday and confirmed that East Fife have been charged with breaking the league’s rules and will face a disciplinary hearing.

The hearing will take place in front of a sub-committee of the SPFL board on Thursday, April 29.

East Fife will contest the charges, insisting that they did not feel safe in playing the fixture.

Manager Darren Young had posted an explanation on social media, saying that the affected player had already been in the dressing room and out on the pitch training before the test result arrived 30 minutes before kick-off. He said that players were unhappy with the rick involved.

Speaking to STV before the disciplinary charge was announced, Young said that his team were asked if they wanted to play, and that there was “minimal risk”.

Young said that several of his players’ wives are pregnant and they were not prepared to take any risk. The part-time side also have players who are self-employed and did not want to increase the possibility of losing earnings through forced isolation.

Though the affected Clyde player had left the stadium to return home, East Fife’s concern was that since he had travelled on a bus to Peterhead with half of his team on Saturday prior to his test, there was still a risk of the virus having spread.

Young told STV that the version of events he had read in club statements did not match his view of what had happened at the stadium.

“To be asked the question ‘Do you want to go ahead with this?’ [was surprising],” he said. “It’s a wee bit different from the statements that are coming out.

“We never turned around and said ‘We are refusing point blank to play because all the evidence says that he’s fine’.

“It’s not his fault but the guy has quite clearly positive and has mixed with players, who are then going to mix with our players on the park.

“I’m not going to put my players into that situation.The chairman said the same.

“For the last year and a half we have adhered by the rules and done everything by the book.”