Boli Bolingoli: Scottish football could be shut down after Celtic player broke lockdown rules to take secret holiday to Spain

Boli Bolingoli returned and without self-isolating came off the bench during Celtic’s 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock on Sunday

Gavin McCafferty
Tuesday 11 August 2020 11:32
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Celtic have launched an internal investigation
Celtic have launched an internal investigation

Scottish football’s return to action could be shut down after it emerged Celtic defender Boli Bolingoli took a secret trip to Spain and failed to self-isolate on his return.

The left-back came off the bench during Celtic’s 1-1 Scottish Premiership draw with Kilmarnock.

Spain was restored to the Scottish Government’s list of countries from which returning travellers must quarantine themselves for 14 days following a decision on July 25, which came into effect from midnight on July 26.

Aberdeen’s game against St Johnstone on Saturday was postponed 24 hours earlier after two Dons players tested positive for Covid-19 and a further six were instructed to self-isolate following a night out in a bar.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had already warned that Scottish football’s privileges to play during the safety restrictions would be put at risk if a similar situation arose with the government confirming they are investigating this latest incident.

A statement read: “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.”

Scottish Justice Minister Humza Yousaf added on social media: “Utterly unacceptable from Bolingoli. With a number of incidents, Scot Govt left with little choice but to consider whether pause is now needed in resumption of the game.

“Operational matter for Border Force & Police Scot, I support whatever enforcement action they deem necessary.”

A statement from Bolingoli’s club read: “Celtic Football Club unreservedly condemns and apologises for the behaviour of the player Boli Bolingoli in travelling to Spain without informing the club and in failing to observe quarantine restrictions.

“It is difficult to imagine a more irresponsible action in current circumstances and we find it beyond explanation. The Club will take immediate action through our own disciplinary procedures.

“Celtic are in touch with every SPFL club today, and with all relevant authorities, to apologise for the fact that one of our employees has created so much additional difficulty through his actions.

“All of our playing and backroom staff have been tested twice for Covid-19 since this incident and all, including the player in question, have tested negative. While this comes as a relief to all concerned, it in no way diminishes the seriousness or stupidity of the player’s actions.

“Since the Covid -19 crisis began, we have had a safe and healthy squad of players, recording not one positive test. As a club, we have worked tirelessly to ensure a sustained, safe environment for all.

Celtic have condemned Bolingoli's actions 

“We have led the way in working with the football authorities and Scottish Government to establish the most rigorous, effective protocols and working practices, which ultimately led to the resumption of football. We could have done no more in this area.

“It is a matter of the deepest regret to us that the behaviour of one individual has jeopardised that reputation and reflected discredit on football more generally.”

All 12 Premiership managers and captains held talks with Scottish Government officials on Monday evening where they were reminded of their responsibilities over protocols particular to football and also the general public.

Scotland’s national clinical director, Jason Leitch, later stated that Aberdeen’s home game against Hamilton on Wednesday was not certain to go ahead given the spike of cases in the city.

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