It has come as a surprise to no-one and a source of dismay for those that are Celtic minded as Hatem Abd Elhamed tested positive for Coronavirus today. Celtic released a statement saying that the Israeli defender had tested positive and that he would miss Saturday’s game versus Rangers.
Celtic expressed their unhappiness that FIFA regulations dictated that the clubs had to release players to their nations, in the height of a pandemic.
“Celtic Football Club can confirm that Hatem Elhamed has tested positive for Covid-19 while on international duty and is now required to enter a 13-day period of isolation in line with regulations in Israel.
“Our medical staff will maintain constant dialogue with him and will provide all required support.
“Everyone at the club sends Hatem our best wishes and, of course, we hope he makes a full recovery as soon as possible.
“We are, of course, disappointed and frustrated that another player on international duty has tested positive – during an international period which is continuing to present huge challenges for the club.
“During the remainder of this international period, as we have done throughout, we will be maintaining close contact with the relevant international associations, in order to ensure everything possible is being done with regards to the care and protection of our players, something which must be a priority.
“While FIFA regulations determine that clubs are obliged to release players for international duty, going forward we are sure wider discussions will take place around this hugely important issue.”
Elhamed played versus the Czech Republic last night but complained about feeling ill at full-time. Celtic will be watching for the result on Monday anxiously, having already lost some first team regulars. The break has been a disaster for the club but at least there have been no cases at Lennoxtown with everyone testing negative.
Celtic have already lost Odsonne Edouard and Nir Bitton to positive tests. Now Elhamed joins Ryan Christie in being forced to self-isolate. This is a huge blow for Celtic and showcases that the International break has the potential to wreak havoc on the club with the Glasgow Derby on Saturday.
Get well soon Hatem.