The National Clinical Director of the Scottish Government Jason Leitch has dismissed the notion rugby has been given preferential treatment over football.
Scottish rugby encountered COVID-19 problems last week as a young player tested positive for the virus after attending a house party. It comes after eight Aberdeen players and Celtic left-back Boli Bolingoli were widely condemned for their breaches of protocol.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Scottish football has received a ‘yellow card,’ leaving some confused as to why rugby hadn’t had similar warning.
Aberdeen and Celtic were forced to postpone three matches, one against each other, as a result of breaches. Meanwhile, Edinburgh Rugby still travelled to France for their European Challenge Cup quarter-final contest against Bordeaux, following an academy player’s breach.
Leitch has explained the key difference between the football and rugby situations, stating it’s important to remember that a youth player broke the rules in rugby, not a senior member of the first-team.
“I think there are some key differences,” said Leitch (BBC). “But the basics are that somebody who had been given privilege, who was allowed to do something extra broke the rules and the regulatory body, the SPFL or the SRU will deal with the rule-breaking.
“My job is to protect the public health of those around the team. We reviewed training footage. We looked at video and reviewed GPS and looked at what training had been.
“The key difference is these were academy players, they weren’t first team Edinburgh rugby travelling to France players to be in the first team this weekend for example. The public health advice from NHS Lothian was that it was safe for the first team to continue.
“I have had discussions with the SRU and the Chief Executive Mark Dodson and he was more angry than me. Those individuals are young boys and they will be treated sensitively but I don’t think Rugby Union is going to miss them.”