Livingston Football Club wishes to go on record, clearing up rumours of a potential COVID-19 breach in relation to our pre-match meal arrangements for Tuesday’s game against Aberdeen FC.
We understand that times are tough for all right now and that we, as a professional football club, are privileged to continue operating as best as possible. With these privileges come added responsibility and we at Livingston FC, enforce this message of responsibility to all players and staff repeatedly.
We have been made aware of complaints that were made in relation to our pre-match meal at Tony Macaroni and a subsequent “investigation” into these events. We are deeply disappointed about this “investigation” and the way this alleged COVID-19 breach has been portrayed in the media, considering we had the authorities’ written approval to use Tony Macaroni restaurants for our pre-match meals. The Tony Macaroni restaurants are closed and we have the use of the full restaurant to comply with social distancing measures and we were assured that all restaurants were sanitised deeply pre and post use.
In early January, the club were made aware of an exemption in legislation for closed premises for “any suitable premises that are used for the purposes of professional sport.” We felt this comment to be vague and wanted further clarity from the relevant governing bodies to ensure we fully complied with all Covid-19 guidelines and legislation. Therefore, we followed up on this guidance on the 12th January 2021 and explicitly informed the Scottish FA of our desire to use Tony Macaroni for our pre-match meals moving forward and questioned whether this exemption in legislation would allow us to do so. The Scottish FA replied to our query confirming that they have ‘received confirmation that the advice still stands from a legislative perspective even though we are in a national lockdown.’ Thus meaning, all relevant authorities were fully aware of the club using a Tony Macaroni restaurant for our pre-match meals.
Today, we received an update from the SFA/JRG stating that this will no longer be possible. This new guidance will prevent all clubs from using restaurants and hotels for pre-match meals, unless staying overnight, where they would class as residents. We are sure this new guidance will come as quite the shock to a number of football clubs who have been utilising hotels for pre-match meals.
While we will continue to comply fully with the latest Scottish Government, JRG, SPFL and Scottish FA guidance, we do not deem this alleged COVID-19 breach to be fair or warranted given we were operating under the latest written guidance and written approval we had at the time. The guidance has changed and our stringent club protocols will change also to fully protect our players, staff and wider society.
We will be making no further comment on the matter and welcome any investigation into the alleged breach.