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Celtic Dubai row: Leitch says leagues could be at threat over Covid surge as he says UAE has DOUBLE Scottish cases

  • 9 Jan 2021, 13:59
  • Updated: 9 Jan 2021, 14:36

JASON LEITCH reckons Scotland's football authorities will have to revisit the question of whether leagues can be played to a finish in the next few weeks as Covid-19 cases continue to rise.

The national clinical director was responding to a question that Scotland's lower division players - who are untested - could become SCARED to fulfil their fixtures as cases of the pandemic rise.

Testing is only mandatory right now in the Scottish Premiership - with Scottish Cup matches this week seeing untested stars travelling across the country to play matches.

Asked about the possibility of the leagues being completed, Leitch told BBC Off the Ball: "I honestly don't know the answer to that.

"I hope so, I hope we can get society in general, not just professional sport into as good a place as possible.

"But we have got 2500 cases a day, we had 90 deaths registered yesterday, we have got higher numbers of hospital admissions than we have in 12 months. And London is absolutely losing the fight because of the intensive care challenges.

"The judgement of whether Ayr United should travel to Elgin is not for me, it is for the football authorities.

"But we were asked an interesting question about a lower league team who were now scared to play because of the level of the virus. And I think they have got a point.

"I think it is now getting to the point where the prevalence is so high that it does seem quite worrying.

"The question about the leagues, I think the football authorities will have to look at it over the next few weeks depending on what happens with the numbers.

"I'm very, very worried about the next couple of months."

Leitch also turned his attention to the topic of Celtic's Dubai training camp.

The Hoops' decision to travel to the UAE for winter training has caused huge controversy, with Ally McCoist slamming the decision last night.

While he explained why the Hoops DON'T have to quarantine upon their return from Dubai, he said it was up to the football authorities to confirm that the rules were observed throughout.

And highlighted the fact that Covid-19 cases in the UAE are currently TWICE the level of Scotland.

"The rules are that professional sports people can go on winter training camps, that is allowed.

"So if you are Mo Farah and you need to train at altitude in Ethiopia then come back and run the London marathon that is permitted, it is a reason for travel.

"So professional sports, football included, are allowed to go on winter treaining camps.

"They are not allowed just to go on a holiday, like the rest of us aren't.

"But that winter camp is therefore allowed. Now that is a judgement for the authorities and the clubs and the authorities about what that it is.

"That exemption - if they stay within their bubble - means they don't have to quarantine when they come back.

"But I should tell you that the UAE yesterday had 5,000 cases, nearly double the Scottish number of cases. So there is a lot of Covid in Dubai.

"And the club when they are in Dubai, have to follow the rules.

"They have to distance, the only exemption is over the white line, whether you are training or playing.

"They have to behave the same as the rest of us, when they are there.

"But they are allowed to be there, just to be clear."




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4 minutes ago, Bill said:

I’ll guarantee Rangers won’t be awarded any title 

I’ll second that, not a chance in hell we get handed a title for a season not completed. If we are 20 points clear with 7 games to go it won’t be awarded if Wee Nippy orders football to stop.


I wouldn’t put it past Lawwell getting the season stopped and then voided, with all mainstream media finding ways of supporting the decision and explaining how it’s different to their tainted title.


In any event I don’t want the title awarded, I wouldn’t claim it , even if it’s in the record books in the same way I don’t recognise the 19/20 title being won by anyone.

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It's so typical of the desperation and lack of any dignity underpinning the Parkhead club that if not deliberately planned then the opportunity to use Covid to stop Rangers winning the league will certainly be exploited to the full. 

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4 minutes ago, Gonzo79 said:

Has a single footballer ended up in hospital with Covid-19?

Unlikely but, like anyone else contracting Covid, I suppose the question will be ... how many people might have died as a result of virus passed on by a footballer. Given the shambles of track and trace, it's probably unknowable.

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