Dons' players fines donated to NHS - as authorities start disciplinary proceedings

Aberdeen have fined eight players who broke coronavirus rules by going to a busy bar in the city - with the money donated to NHS Grampian.

The club say an internal investigation has revealed the players breached the club's Covid-19 protocols and government guidance.

The players are all having to self-isolate after two of them caught coronavirus.

It comes as the SPFL and SFA have begun disciplinary proceedings against the players and the club.

Chairman Dave Cormack said: "These players made a huge mistake. They not only went against government guidance but also breached our own Covid-19 procedures, set out by the club to all players and staff.

"Due to the privilege that has been afforded to professional footballers, and having witnessed the outrage and anger their actions provoked, they are in no doubt that they have let themselves and the club down.

"They are truly sorry and have apologised unreservedly to the first minster, health and footballing authorities, the fans, the manager, the rest of the squad, our staff and board and the wider community.

"As a result of our investigation, these players have been severely reprimanded and fined heavily. Contractually, the specifics must remain confidential between the club and each player but, rest assured, the financial fines are in line with the severity of the consequences of their actions.

"The club has chosen to donate these fines to NHS Grampian.

"We fully appreciate the outpouring of dismay and anger by those who have been impacted by this virus, by those who have worked selflessly to protect us and by our fans, who have, despite health and financial worries, supported the club with their hard-earned cash during this period.

"Their actions were indefensible but the investigation has been completed, they have apologised, they have been punished by the club, and are suffering the humiliation that goes with making a mistake in the public eye.

"The club, like every employer, has a duty of care to its staff and we must also consider the wellbeing of these players, who continue to face an ongoing barrage of criticism and personal abuse from many quarters.

"They’ve been taught the harshest of lessons and have the chance to redeem themselves and help demonstrate that the club is better and bigger than this regrettable episode.

"I can only hope that Dons fans and the Aberdeen community will remember the tremendously positive work the club and trust, including staff, volunteers and the players, have delivered during this pandemic, and help us all heal from this."

Jonny Hayes, Scott McKenna, Sam Cosgrove, Craig Bryson, Bruce Anderson, Dylan McGeouch, Matty Kennedy and Michael Devlin are all facing two charges from the footballing authorities.

They are alleged to have failed to comply with articles, laws of the game and the rules, procedures, bye-laws and decisions of the SFA.

It is also claimed they brought the game into disrepute.

Celtic player Boli Bolingoli, who took a trip to Spain then failed to quarantine - without telling the club - faces the same allegations.

An initial hearing will be held on Friday August 28.

Meanwhile Aberdeen and Celtic themselves are also facing separate disciplinary proceedings, for "alleged breaches of the SPFL's Covid-19 requirements and testing regulation".

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