Nicola Sturgeon close to swearing after latest alleged Covid breach by footballers

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NICOLA Sturgeon has said she struggles not to swear when privileged footballers break Covid rules after Rangers launched a probe into a possible breach by its players.

The First Minister said it took all her power not to “use expletives” after being asked about the Ibrox controversy, and told all clubs to “make sure your house in order”.

Rangers yesterday announced an internal investigation into allegations members of the squad were at a house party broken up by police.

Police Scotland issued 10 fines to people after breaking up a party in Hayburn Lane in the west end of Glasgow just after 1am on Sunday morning.

The club said it was aware of the incident which was “subject to an internal investigation”.

Asked about the issue at the daily coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon said it was “hugely frustrating” whenever footballers undermined the lockdown and public health messaging.

She said: “I tell you, sometimes it feels it’s taking me all my power not to stand here and use expletives wherever I get asked about football again.

“I’ve not been given all the details of the Rangers incident yet. No doubt that will happen when the details are clearer. I know the club has said that they are investigating.

“Whenever football rears its head in this situation, I get emails from people suggesting I’m somehow partial in favour of or against one team or another.

“That’s not true. I don’t care what club it is that’s breaching the rules. If you’re breaching the rules, you’re in the wrong, and it’s really frustrating. 

“Not just to me or the government – I suppose that’s nit the most important thing, although believe me it is really frustrating.

“But it’s really unfair to the vast majority of people in the country who don’t have the privileges that elite sports people have right now, and therefore when they see elite sports people breach these rules – and let’s be frank, the vast majority are not – but when a small number do, then people think, ‘Why am I bothering?’”

She went on: ““So can I say to football and sport generally, please make sure your house is in order. Because it shouldn’t take me standing here to say to highly paid footballers that you’ve got to obey the rules. It really shouldn;t take that. 

“But the fact that it does is hugely frustrating to me, and I don’t care whether it’s Celtic, Rangers or any other club, it’s not on. So please stop breaking the rules.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson told Sky Sports News: “We received reports of a gathering at a property in Hayburn Lane, Glasgow at 1.10am on Sunday 14th February.

“Officers attended and those in attendance left. 10 people were issued with fixed penalty notices for breaching coronavirus regulations.”

Green MSP Ross Greer told BBC Scotland that if football players were found to have flouted Covid rules, he “wouldn’t expect to see them back on the pitch for the rest of the season”.

He said clubs and leagues had been “putting pressure” on governments to bring fans back into stadiums, but “If players can’t follow the rules they don’t deserve the privilege of bringing fans back in”.

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