LASK Linz were deducted six points by the Austrian League for breaking the rules regarding the return to training.
That decision presents the SFA and SPFL with a clear precedent as they come to terms with the news that the club from Ibrox fielded nine untested players in a game against Dundee United at Murray Park on Wednesday.
According to the rules players must be tested once a week. After returning from Lyon on Sunday Steven Gerrard’s squad didn’t undergo testing until Tuesday with the results not known by the time the team was announced to play Dundee United. Unlike Celtic and Ross County the Ibrox club don’t have their own testing equipment.
Despite that an SFA referee allowed the game to go ahead. Later the same day Motherwell were due to play a 6pm friendly at Ibrox. Kick off was delayed until 8pm with no explanation given. Calvin Bassey started the Murray Park match against Dundee United then came on as a 60th minute substitute for Borma Barisic against Motherwell.
Late last night the Daily Record provided a detailed account of what went on earlier this week, by 11am on Friday there was still no response from Hampden or Ibrox.
Covering the Austrian account, on May 29 The Standard reports:
LASK Linz’s pursuit of a first Austrian top-flight title in over 50 years has been dealt a hefty blow after they were knocked off top spot by a points deduction.
Manchester United’s Europa League round of 16 opponents have been docked six points and fined €75,000 (£67,871) after allegedly breaking rules regarding holding team sessions during the shutdown when only smaller-group training was permitted.
The club apologised at the time and said they felt it was safe to hold team sessions as the entire squad had repeatedly tested negative for the virus.
Linz were handed a 12-point deduction, but all teams’ points tallies are halved at the end of the regular season when they are split into two groups of six, with the top six playing for the title and the remainder to avoid relegation. As a result, Linz’s deduction was reduced to six.
It’s not known what punishments the SFA and SPFL have in place for teams playing friendly matches for players that have gone more than a week without being tested.
With the cautious nature of the Scottish Government to relaxing Lockdown they will be expecting strong action from the SFA to ensure that clubs comply.
If the club from Ibrox can do a Dominic Cummings then it gives everyone the excuse to create their own interpretation of the rules.