November 25, 2020

Hearts seeking clarification on training pause request

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The Joint Response Group are looking to strengthen existing rules following demands by the Scottish Government to instigate penalties for breaches of health and safety guidelines

Last Updated: 13/08/20 8:19pm

Hearts have been back in training at the Oriam since August 3 Hearts have been back in training at the Oriam since August 3

Hearts have been back in training at the Oriam since August 3

Hearts are seeking an explanation from the SPFL and SFA for why they have been asked to pause training as part of coronavirus protocols.

The Joint Response Group are looking to strengthen existing rules following demands by the Scottish Government to instigate penalties for breaches of health and safety guidelines.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon handed Scottish football a “yellow card” on Tuesday after it emerged Celtic left-back Boli Bolingoli had travelled to Spain and failed to quarantine days before playing against Kilmarnock.

That came after two Aberdeen players caught Covid-19 and a further six were instructed to self-isolate following a night out.

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Scotland’s National Clinical Director Jason Leitch claims professional sport in the country is now at risk after the actions of some Scottish Premiership footballers

Scotland’s National Clinical Director Jason Leitch claims professional sport in the country is now at risk after the actions of some Scottish Premiership footballers

Part of new measures to be implemented include clubs outside the Scottish Premiership being told they cannot yet return to training until August 24 – but relegated Hearts have already done so.

Robbie Neilson’s side have been back in training since Monday August 3 with training held within a bio-secure bubble at the Oriam and all squad members and staff subjected to twice weekly testing in a similar manner to Scottish Premiership clubs.

Neilson is believed to be furious with the decision which was conveyed with just over an hour’s notice before it was made public by the SFA/SPFL Joint Response Group.

Robbie Neilson guided Hearts to promotion from the Scottish Championship in 2014/15, during his first spell at the club Robbie Neilson guided Hearts to promotion from the Scottish Championship in 2014/15, during his first spell at the club

Robbie Neilson guided Hearts to promotion from the Scottish Championship in 2014/15, during his first spell at the club

Club sources have told Sky Sports News they feel Hearts are being treated disproportionately in the wake of breaches of protocol by players in the Scottish Premiership.

They say the club have not committed any breaches in protocol, and would welcome being visited and having its Covid-19 protocols audited in a similar manner to that taking place at Glasgow City FC. The Joint Response Group have allowed the SWPL champions to continue training as they prepare for the Champions’ League quarterfinal

Meanwhile, the National Clinical Director, Dr Jason Leitch, has said the decision to pause training was not taken by the Scottish Government but instead by the SPFL/SFA JRG.

A JRG spokesperson said: “The pause on all football training beneath Premiership and including all adult football over-18 was part of the agreement with Scottish Government that culminated in today’s range of measures being announced and the majority of this week’s games going ahead as scheduled.”

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