Is Rangers’s Covid Breach The Last Straw For Scottish Football?

As the news broke of Rangers players Bongani Zungu, Nathan Patterson, Calvin Bassey, Dapo Mebude and Brian Kinnear breaching Covid-19 protection laws yesterday, could this be the end of the line for Scottish football this season?

Nicola Sturgeon has made it no secret that if continuous Covid protocols were breached she would intervene and tell the Scottish Football Authority to suspend the season. This football season alone seen Aberdeen and Celtic breach Covid guidance in August when Aberdeen were placed in a regional lockdown over a pub outbreak that grew out of control that players were linked to and when Celtic player Boli Bolingoli travelled to Spain for a short trip without telling the club and failed to isolate upon his return; St Mirren and Kilmarnock had their own Covid outbreaks after not following guidance fully in October, Celtic travelled to Dubai as the second national lockdown began and there’s now this incident with Rangers players breaking the stay at home guidance.

But is it fair to punish all the Premiership and Championship teams due to the actions of some clubs?

Majority of clubs have stuck to the rules throughout the pandemic and although several clubs have had at least one confirmed Covid case or had to have staff isolate, not all of these incidents are linked to reckless behaviour but rather bad luck. The Covid-19 pandemic has been prevalent throughout society for almost a year and it can still be caught even if you follow the rules completely.

Currently with less than 10 games remaining in the season, Scottish Football is at a similar point to where it was when the initial suspension of professional football last March. If this goes ahead a second time and current positions is what determines who gets relegated and who is promoted etc would Rangers accept what as a club and fanbase classed as a ‘tainted title’ when Celtic were declared last season’s champions under these circumstances? Or would they want the season null and voided?

4 thoughts on “Is Rangers’s Covid Breach The Last Straw For Scottish Football?

  1. As a strong supporter of Rangers FC my opinions may be biased but I will certainly try to keep my unconscious bias to a minimum. The prospect of a “null and void” season is ultimately impossible and if not improbable. This is, I believe due to the fact 3/4 of the games have been played. Furthermore I don’t believe Nicola Sturgeon currently possesses the power at the moment for such drastic measures but then again I haven’t researched this in depth yet. In addition too potential early season ending I think this is also not viable. I personally believe the SFA at the time of crowning Celtic FC champions of the 2019/20 campaign made a irrational decision without taking much time to analyse the outcomes of a prematurely ended season. Again I reiterate this is not because of my position as a Rangers fan but rather the consequences towards other Scottish clubs such as Hearts FC relegation. I don’t know the exact reasoning behind ending the season early but I think SFA have more credibility than me and perhaps it made viable sense financially at the time. However , while Scottish football decided to end the football season prematurely , many other nations remained patient with decision making processes and eventually continued the league when it was viable at the time such as the EPL. In terms of the recent Rangers incident I would like to attempt too partially defend them in some context. Both Rangers incidents are unique to the other situations mentioned such as Aberdeen and Celtic FC. This is believe all comes down to the isolation of the Rangers incident. For example both Rangers incidents have been personal covid breaches that was effectively dealt with before the squad ever mixed and in no way does this justify these individuals actions and it was blatant ignorance and stupidity. However , these incident luckily did not directly impact Rangers FC fixtures or the current squad in anyway other than compulsory isolation periods for the culprits. In terms of effective punishment I do not know the viable solution other than increase of financial “penalties” but from the players who have breached covid protocols I believe they have been penalised enough as individuals. Edmundson , Jones , Bolingoli have all been fined both internally and externally I believe and these players have all temporarily yet massively impacted their careers with suspensions and with all three players currently on loan clubs. I am not a judge therefore I don’t determine if they deserve it or not but I can say in these prolific cases the players are strongly regretting their actions now with these heavy punishments . In addition to the new Rangers incident I believe this was similar as it was luckily reported before any of the players involved mixed with the squad. In terms of the media attention about this latest one I strongly I think it’s exaggerated and misrepresenting “5 Ranger Players breach” and yes absolutely players like Bassey , Zungu and perhaps Patterson should no doubt know better especially with such an important season ahead. However , the other 2 players are yes Rangers players but these guys are academy players at a very young age and shouldn’t be held to the same standards as these other professionals in my opinion because academy players are not professionals and some might not ever be sadly. Celtic FC and Aberdeen was more noticeable a squad breach directly impacting the whole squad and current fixtures therefore I believe they received more heat for it. Overall , Players represent the clubs and it seems many clubs have had players breach the rules and unfortunately they should be held accountable both individually and collectively with viable and reasonable solutions which doesn’t undo the fantastic protocols that the majority of the teams have been followed. In regards to the comment about other clubs following the rules I believe this to be more or less true as I think majority of the clubs including Rangers and Celtic have had respectable protocols in place with the exception of the unnecessary Dubai trip although if I’m honest I think this was sheer misfortune from Celtics point of view and the trip of course would have been fine without a a return of a positive test from Julian. The last point I’d like to add is in respect to the smaller teams in Scottish football , rule breaches are unreported as mentioned of these other clubs however and as evidence is not presented they would be innocent of any involvement of covid breaches. However , a Ross County or St Mirren player attending a party is very much more likely to go unpunished than what a Celtic, Rangers or Aberdeen is player. This I believe is purely due to the fact that the big clubs from Scotland are highly recognisable and attract huge social/media attention as opposed to many others. I think to penalise the whole leagues is not viable but perhaps heavier fines for clubs and players may be the solution as for covid breaches I think they are like every other industry likely too continue from time to time in isolated incidents from individuals and clubs are slowly adjusting and adapting for better protocols and clarity on measures required.

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    1. I really like your thought process and your analysis of the situation, you make brilliant points! With this Covid situation it’s tricky for clubs and the governing bodies to solve and give punishments with. Same with things like stopping the league etc in a sense their debates about stuff like that are similar to the Scottish/ Uk government deciding on lockdowns rules as they can’t please everyone and they have to do what they deem to be the best option. I don’t see the league being suspended or null and voided this far in but I can see the Scottish Cup not going ahead or those fixtures being played once the season is finished. So that the clubs lower down the leagues aren’t putting their players at further risk since if they play one game and get eliminated the risk for that team is over in terms of potentially catching it from playing football.

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