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Scottish football chiefs set to dish out sanctions for clubs breaking Covid-19 rules

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scottish football chiefs set to dish out sanctions for clubs breaking covid 19 rules

Scottish football’s Joint Response Group are poised to crack down on clubs accused of breaching Covid-19 testing rules.

The move comes after St Mirren pledged to investigate the batch of faulty coronavirus tests which prompted a pre-season lockdown scare and follows letters from the JRG to Rangers, Motherwell and Hibernian seeking clarity over the testing procedures which resulted in cancelled and delayed pre-season games.

Currently the Joint Response Group simply ask clubs to abide by a set of coronavirus advisory guidelines.

St Mirren will probe the faulty coronavirus tests which prompted a pre-season lockdown scare

St Mirren will probe the faulty coronavirus tests which prompted a pre-season lockdown scare

St Mirren will probe the faulty coronavirus tests which prompted a pre-season lockdown scare

Following crunch talks with the Scottish Government on Friday, however, Hampden powerbrokers are set to upgrade the guidelines to a set of firm instructions before next weekend’s Premiership kick-off, with potential sanctions for those who fail to comply. Clubs have already been ordered to return to two tests per week for players and staff after question marks over the testing of Rangers players who took part in a game against Dundee United on Wednesday. 

Seven members of St Mirren’s coaching staff also tested positive for Covid-19 on the same day. Following fresh NHS screening, six of the Saints staff have now returned ‘false positives’.

The one remaining coach is in ‘strict isolation’ and has been quarantined since Saturday.

Chief Executive Tony Fitzpatrick said: ‘We have complied robustly with the official testing and hygiene regimen to the letter, using a private testing facility in accordance with the Scottish Government and the SPFL/SFA Joint Response Group protocols.

Seven members of St Mirren’s coaching staff tested positive but six were found to be false

Seven members of St Mirren’s coaching staff tested positive but six were found to be false

Seven members of St Mirren’s coaching staff tested positive but six were found to be false

‘Our players were tested on Monday 20th and have returned 100 per cent negative tests on Wednesday, July 22, however test results for seven of the coaching staff undertaken at the same time showed they were positive for Covid-19.

‘We immediately implemented strict isolation protocols and made further arrangements for the coaching staff to be retested at NHS testing facilities on Thursday 23rd.

‘I’m very pleased to report that six of the subsequent coaching staff tests have now come back negative this morning.

‘The remaining member of the coaching staff has confirmed as a positive test result and continues to be in strict isolation and has not come into contact with any member of the playing or coaching staff since Saturday 18th July. The club will continue to support and look after this staff member to ensure a full recovery.

‘We are liaising closely with NHS Scotland, the SPFL and the SFA on next steps. We will also be undertaking an urgent review of the private testing arrangement which returned the initial false positive test results.

Rangers, Motherwell and Hibernian have been asked for clarity over testing procedures

Rangers, Motherwell and Hibernian have been asked for clarity over testing procedures

Rangers, Motherwell and Hibernian have been asked for clarity over testing procedures

’St Mirren were scheduled to face St Johnstone in a friendly match this afternoon. That game remains cancelled, while the club hope their home Premiership game with Livingston next Saturday can still go ahead.‘In light of recent events the club’s planned friendly match at home to St Johnstone has been cancelled,’ continued Fitzpatrick.

‘Our priority throughout the pandemic has always been the safety and wellbeing of our staff and players, and to ensure we placed public safety at the forefront of our thoughts and actions. This will continue to be the clubs top priority as a safe start to the football season is essential.’

The Joint Response Group has also asked Rangers to explain their testing schedule before Wednesday’s delayed friendly win over Motherwell and whether fringe players who took part in a game against Dundee United earlier in the day received their results in time.

Motherwell have also been the recipients of a letter from the JRG, the Fir Park providing a swift response citing delays caused by the testing company.

Hibs have also been asked to provide answers over the cancellation of their friendly clash with Ross County last Saturday. SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster warned that the St Mirren situation is a clear warning that no risks can be taken as football battles to emerge from the Covid pandemic.

Hampden powerbrokers are set to upgrade the guidelines after talks with the government

Hampden powerbrokers are set to upgrade the guidelines after talks with the government

Hampden powerbrokers are set to upgrade the guidelines after talks with the government

‘Scottish football is acutely aware of how vital it is that everyone adheres strictly to the various restrictions and testing regimes which are designed to protect our game,’ Doncaster said.

‘There can be no complacency, but we are heartened by the rigorous way that clubs, players and officials have responded to Covid-19 since March. 

‘With such regular testing being carried out by SPFL clubs, it is inevitable that several players or coaching staff will have tested positive. This has happened, as it has also happened in leagues around the world. What is vital is that clubs manage those very few confirmed positive tests such that the virus does not spread. So far, the rigorous work that our clubs have carried out has ensured that this is the case.

‘We continue to work with the health authorities and the Scottish Government and are looking forward with confidence to the resumption of matches next weekend.’

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F1 Spanish Grand Prix LIVE: Hamilton chases fourth season win after Verstappen victory at Silverstone – latest updates

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f1 spanish grand prix live hamilton chases fourth season win after verstappen victory at silverstone latest updates
OFF PLATFORM f1 1

F1 heads to Spain as Lewis Hamilton looks to make it four wins from six so far this season.

But Max Verstappen will be looking to challenge the Brit again after claiming the chequered flag in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Get all the latest F1 updates from Barcelona here…

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Sergio Perez claims he was ‘unlucky’ to get coronavirus despite jetting off on holiday AND home to Mexico

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sergio perez claims he was unlucky to get coronavirus despite jetting off on holiday and home to mexico scaled

SERGIO PEREZ claims he was simply unlucky to catch Covid-19 – despite going on holiday AND jetting back to Mexico in the middle of the global pandemic.

The Racing Point driver has been given the all-clear to race in this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix after being ruled out for the two races at Silverstone.

Sergio Perez will be back in action for Racing Point at the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend

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Sergio Perez will be back in action for Racing Point at the Spanish Grand Prix this weekendCredit: AP:Associated Press

The Mexican flew home to visit his mum, who had been in hospital following an accident, while photos of him holidaying in Europe were also deleted from social media.

Perez said: “Anything I did after the Hungrian GP was done between the lines.

“I hadn’t done anything different to the rest of the paddock, so I was just the unlucky one to get it.

“But I am not willing to take any blame for it, because anyone can get it. I was just the unlucky one.”

Perez was forced to self-isolate following his positive pre-event test ahead of the British GP.

He subsequently failed a second test a week later, ruling him out of both races and he had to watch them on TV instead.

He added: “I am very happy to be back and doing what I love. I was extremely lucky not to have any big symptoms, other than a little bit of a headache.

“For one or two days I felt very tired, but sometimes you feel like that when you spend so much time on your own and you cannot leave the room.

CM GRAPHIC F1 v2 1

“I was in lockdown for 10 days and I was training in my apartment trying to keep fit. I was in Milton Keynes after testing positive.

“I found it really boring to be watching the races on TV instead of being in it, especially the first race at Silverstone. That was very boring until the last lap or two.

“The second race with a tyre changes made it more entertaining from that point of view.”

F1’s Sergio Perez says he visited his ‘mum after she left hospital’ as he admits he doesn’t know where he caught COVID19 forcing him out of British GP

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Willian will complete his move to Arsenal this weekend by signing a three-year deal at the Emirates

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willian will complete his move to arsenal this weekend by signing a three year deal at the emirates

Willian will complete his move to Arsenal on a three-year deal this weekend.

The Brazilian will finish off all the formalities of his switch across London by Sunday.

An announcement will follow once all the finer details are rubber stamped.

But only a seismic turn of event will stop the deal from being concluded this weekend, meaning Willian can start pre season training with his new team-mates.

Free agent Willian will complete his move to Arsenal on a three-year deal this weekend

Free agent Willian will complete his move to Arsenal on a three-year deal this weekend

Free agent Willian will complete his move to Arsenal on a three-year deal this weekend

And his move was confirmed by agent Kia Joorabchian who said the winger’s future would be announced soon.

Speaking to talkSPORT, Joorabchian said a deal for Willian would be wrapped up but refused to say where he would end up. 

‘He is a free player,’ Joorabchian said. ‘He had a fantastic seven years at Chelsea, he’s been under various managers, he’s won multiple trophies and he has a fantastic relationship with Frank [Lampard], he respected him a lot.

‘But I think that cycle had come to a moment where it’s a good moment to leave.

‘At the moment, just for now I can’t say where he’s going to go, for sure Arsenal are one of the contenders. But it won’t be long before we announce it. We know where he’s going, so it won’t be long.’ 

The 32-year-old confirmed his departure from Chelsea earlier this week, with an open letter to Blues fans.

It brings the curtain down on seven trophy-laden years at Stamford Bridge, where he won two Premier League titles, the FA Cup, League Cup and the Europa League. 

Willian’s Chelsea exit had been on the cards after it emerged that he had reportedly rejected a two-year extension, seeking a three-year contract with the club.

He was reportedly angered by the stance taken by Chelsea throughout negotiations, with director Marina Granovskaia offering a ‘take it or leave it’ rebuttal to Willian’s three-year deal demand.

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