Aberdeen’s Scottish Premiership game at St Johnstone has been postponed after two players tested positive for coronavirus, sparking a furious reaction from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
The Scottish government and football authorities had agreed on Thursday that the game should go ahead as planned but that decision has been reversed.
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Two Aberdeen players tested positive for COVID-19 and a further six were instructed to self-isolate for 14 days after coming into close contact.
“This weekend’s Scottish Premiership fixture against Aberdeen at McDiarmid Park has been postponed,” St Johnstone said in a statement.
“The club is disappointed at the news of this postponement but the health and well-being of everybody is of paramount importance in this situation.”
A statement from the Scottish football authorities’ joint response group said the Scottish government had asked for the game, scheduled for Saturday, to be postponed following a meeting.
“There is an evolving public health outbreak in Aberdeen and the (sports) minister conveyed the need for additional work to provide further assurance around Aberdeen’s adherence to the agreed protocols,” it said.
“Given the overriding responsibility to public health, the subsequent advice and discussion with the minister this morning means that the joint response group must adhere to the request to postpone the match.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “pretty furious” about the behaviour of some Aberdeen players.
“It is now clear that all eight of these players visited a bar in Aberdeen on Saturday night,” she said.”
“In doing so 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.
“We are asking members of the public to behave in a highly precautionary manner and when a football club ends up with players infected with COVID — and let’s remember this is not through bad luck but through clear breaches of the rules — we cannot take even a small risk that they then spread the infection to other parts of the country.”
Aberdeen hosted Rangers last weekend in the first competitive Scottish football match since mid-March, losing 1-0.
A stricter lockdown was reimposed in the city this week following an outbreak linked to pubs and bars — dozens of cases have been identified.