Celtic this evening confirmed that Nir Bitton has returned a positive Covid-19 test on Friday while on international duty.
The club has released a statement on the official Celtic website that reads as follows…
CELTIC Football Club can confirm that Nir Bitton has returned a positive COVID-19 test yesterday while on international duty.
We send our sincere best wishes to Nir and any other players or staff affected within the Israel squad. We are in constant dialogue with Nir and look forward to him returning safely to the Celtic squad as soon as possible.
Clearly, recent events during this international period are very concerning and frustrating. We have worked tirelessly to ensure a safe and secure working environment and since testing has begun our players and medical staff have done a brilliant job in very difficult circumstances.
Although we will never be complacent, throughout our own Club testing programme, our squad has returned around 2,000 individual negative tests since the outbreak of the pandemic, with not one positive test.
The current situation has presented huge challenges for all within football and wider society which we do not underestimate in any way.
While we apportion no blame whatsoever to anyone, this is now a very difficult position for us and, clearly, for all other clubs. Like all other clubs, we must do all we can to protect our squad and limit the very clear and obvious risks to players.
Under FIFA regulations, clubs are obliged to release players for international duty.
We will be maintaining close contact with international associations in order to ensure everything possible is being done with regards to the care and protection of our players. The priority must be the safety of our players at all times.
For clarification, all members of the Celtic squad who continue to train at Lennoxtown during this period have again ALL returned negative tests yesterday.
Celtic Football Club statement
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) October 10, 2020
Surely for the good of the game all international fixtures must now be sidelined for the next year at least and if not Celtic should consider a club rebellion against international football, and do all that they can to ensure that this happens. Domestic and European club football can ONLY continue if players operate within the safety of each club’s bubble and clearly this is not possible for International games when squads are assembled from all over the world. It is complete madness.
Bring all our Bhoys home Peter, then worry about the consequences later.
Get well soon Nir and we look forward to your return to action in a few weeks time.