All Premiership managers and captains are to have a meeting with National Clinical Director, Professor Jason Leitch, tomorrow evening, which will focus on minimising the risk of Covid-19 affecting their squads.
The move is in direct response to Aberdeen’s controversial breach of protocol, and comes as the eight players responsible broke cover to apologise for their “huge error of judgement.”
Jonny Hayes, Mikey Devlin, Scott McKenna, Matt Kennedy, Sam Cosgrove, Dylan McGeouch, Craig Bryson and Bruce Anderson broke lockdown rules by going to a busy city-centre bar together following the team’s defeat to Rangers.
Two have since tested positive for coronavirus, and the other half-dozen are self-isolating because of the close contact.
The Dons’ match against St Johnstone in Perth yesterday was postponed as a consequence and, with the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, furious about their behaviour, a Zoom meeting has been arranged with the clubs’ representatives to prevent any further repeats.
The Aberdeen players’ statement was signed off with each player’s Christian name.
It read: “First and foremost, we would like to apologise to every AFC fan, the manager, everyone at the club, the football authorities, the First Minister, all healthcare workers along with everyone else that has worked tirelessly around the clock to get the country, and in particular football, back up and running again.
“We, as a small group of players, made a huge error of judgement last weekend by thinking it was OK to visit a city-centre venue together.
“None of us could have foreseen the escalation of Covid-19 cases in the Grampian area, nor did we deliberately attempt to flaunt or disobey Government guidelines which we all must adhere to, or indeed the clear guidelines set out by the club.
“This was by no means a team night out as has been portrayed, and while we attempted to comply with Government social distancing guidelines, we now recognise that our group of eight exceeded the number of households permitted to meet up.
“This was a genuine error on our part as professional football players, and in doing so, we have let our manager down.
“As players, we appreciate our club has gone above and beyond to put protocols in place to protect us and it was never our intention to put that in jeopardy, or to put our teammates or football staff at risk.
“As a player group, we once again apologise unreservedly to the fans, the manager, the board, and all the staff at the club.”
Aberdeen icon Willie Miller had earlier been scathing about the breach.
“It’s just unbelievable,” he said.
“I know the mentality of footballers – but this one has blown me away.
“I cannot believe that any player in the country thought it was a good idea to go out, even for a meal.
“And then to follow it up by going to somewhere that’s close to a nightclub.
“They were putting their own health at risk and their families’. But also the health of Scottish football as a whole.
“I don’t think Nicola Sturgeon will hold back if there are any more breaches.
“It could signal the end of our game for some time.”
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