Players’ futures under discussion after Covid breach
Let down: Steven Gerrard (pic: SNS Group).
Talks between Rangers, the Scottish FA and the Scottish Government could determine the futures of the five players who breached coronavirus rules.
Boss Steven Gerrard has confirmed that loan signing Bongani Zungu was among the group who stepped out of line last weekend by attending a house party in Glasgow which was broken up by police in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The players, who have all been fined by the club, have been ordered to stay away from Ibrox in the short term, with discussions continuing with Holyrood and the football authorities about the next course of action.
Gerrard, who said he felt “let down” by their behaviour, said: “Bongani Zungu is involved, Nathan Patterson, Calvin Bassey, Dapo Mebude, who is obviously part of the academy on loan at Queen of the South, and Brian Kinnear, a young goalie who is an academy player who has spent some time around the first team as well.
“First and foremost, we have to acknowledge that five of our players have been involved in a breach of Covid regulations which from the top of the club to the bottom we are all really disappointed in. That will be dealt with internally.
“The players will be fined and we are in dialogue with the SFA and the government to find a solution moving forward in terms of them boys.
“They have been removed from the club and the squad for now on a short-time basis while they isolate. I will sit down with them face to face when we are allowed to do so.”
He added: “We will certainly move forward from it. We are at a real critical stage in terms of the games coming up and where we are as a club.
“It won’t affect us as a group. I’ve been absolutely delighted with the group in terms of their application.
“I feel personally let down by recent events but I am trying to move forward and focus on the important things which is to prepare the team for a huge game against Antwerp. I’m really excited and look forward to the game.”
Police Scotland said they attended a property in Hayburn Lane, Glasgow, around 1.10am on Sunday, February 14, where ten people were issued with fixed penalty notices for breaching coronavirus regulations.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon was angered by the incident and urged football to “make sure your house is in order”.
It’s not the first time Rangers players have been involved in a breach of Covid rules.
Jordan Jones and George Edmundson were banned by the club for two weeks for attending an illegal house party and handed seven-match bans by the SFA in November before being moved out on loan to English clubs in January.
Rangers take on Belgians Royal Antwerp in the last 32 of the Europa League tomorrow night, with the return at Ibrox seven days later.