Nicola Sturgeon asks whether Celtic complied with the rules of the elite bubble on the trip to Dubai


Nicola Sturgeon has questioned whether during their training trip to Dubai, Celtic followed elite bubble rules.

Following losing 19 points in the Premiership title race against Rangers in the derby, Neil Lennon and his Hoops side flew to the Middle East on Saturday for a warm-weather training camp.

The Scottish government ordered the Scottish Football Association (SFA) to investigate whether the club violated special coronavirus exemptions, and on Monday night Celtic replied by saying it had done nothing wrong.

The First Minister said in her daily briefing today, “As I understand it, last November, the Scottish Government gave some advice to the SFA on the rules regarding elite training camps.”

As of November, the climate around the pandemic has changed quite a bit. In terms of training camps, it’s not our job to rubber stamp or agree or disagree with what a soccer club does.

We set what the rules are. Given the changing nature of the pandemic, the rules have been, and they will have to change, that professional athletes can go overseas for training camps if that’s essential to their competition training background.

As far as I know, that is what we have set as rules. For me, the Celtic issue, and I’m going to try to be polite here, isn’t so much about whether they’re going to go to training camps overseas. Given the changing conditions, it might not be suitable in the future.

The issue isn’t really that. It’s about what the reason is for them to be there. I’ve seen a club statement that suggests it’s more for R and R than for training.

I’ve seen some pictures as well, and I can only focus on what I’ve seen, I don’t know the full circumstances that would raise the question in my mind about whether all the laws that apply to elite players inside their bubble are being followed in terms of social distancing.

“I think there are some aspects that should be discussed there. In certain places in recent years, professional sport, and it’s not just Celtic, has been in a privileged position to do things that the general public can’t do.

“As long as that’s the case, it’s really important that they don’t abuse it and that they use it for its intended purpose and that’s as true for Celtic as it is for anyone else in that position.”


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