SCOTTISH football faces being shut down, the Scottish Government has warned.

Holyrood chiefs are horrified after another high-profile breach of strict quarantine guidelines was exposed with Celtic defender Boli Bolingoli at the centre of a club investigation.

It emerged the 25-year-old Belgian admitted a secret trip to Spain before returning to training with the first-team squad while totally ignoring the 14-day self-isolation order.

Bolingoli featured as a late substitute for Greg Taylor in the champions’ 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Sunday – putting backroom staff, players and officials at risk.

He has since proved negative following two Covid-19 tests.

A Parkhead club spokesman 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.”

Bolingoli admitted: “I have made a huge mistake.

“I want to apologise to my manager, my team-mates, the supporters, everyone at Celtic and so many others for letting them down so badly.

“I am guilty of a major error of judgement. I know what I did was wrong and I know that I must now deal with the consequences.”

The latest incident comes after eight Aberdeen stars were forced to go into quarantine following a night-out in a city pub linked to a coronavirus outbreak in the Granite City, just hours after their team lost to Rangers a week ago on Saturday.

Two of the Aberdeen players later tested positive for the virus with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon expressing her anger at their behaviour after the Scottish Government put in place strict guidelines to help top-flight clubs get the season up and running on August 1.

And now clubs have been warned that a temporary halt could be called to matches just two games into the nine-month season due to the failure of players to abide by the guidelines.

A spokesperson said: “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.”

Before the Bolingoli revelation, SNP leader Sturgeon slammed the behaviour of the Dons stars who, along with other top pros, are being allowed to play despite all lower league and youth football still being banned.

She said: “They blatantly broke the rules that had been agreed between the SFA, the SPFL, and the Scottish Government which, to put it mildly, is completely unacceptable.

“Football has been given the go-ahead on the strict condition clubs and players abide by the guidance that has been agreed.

“They put at risk the return of the professional game. To say this incident is deeply regrettable is an understatement.

“I’m pretty furious about this situation because it shouldn’t have happened. If that guidance is not going to be adhered to then all bets are off.”


About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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