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EXCLUSIVE Dundee United: Leaked team photo shows alleged Covid-19 rules breach days before outbreak

The Dundee United team photo which was heavily criticised by the Scottish Government
The Dundee United team photo which was heavily criticised by the Scottish Government

Dundee United are facing tough questions as a leaked photo shows all the team’s players and staff huddled together just days before a Covid-19 outbreak rocked the club.

The full team photo, understood to have been taken on Friday November 27, shows 49 of the club’s coaches, players, and staff ignoring social distancing measures.

The club revealed this week the entire first-team coaching staff – including manager Micky Mellon – are self-isolating.

Nine members of the playing squad are also in quarantine.

It followed three positive Covid-19 tests among employees, first reported in The Courier.

Dundee United boss Micky Mellon.
Dundee United boss Micky Mellon.

Under governing body the SPFL’s rules, those involved in professional football are exempt from the two-metre rule while training and playing together.

However at all other times they must adhere to the strict guidance, including use of face masks, like the rest of the population.

This involves social occasions and club duties such as staged photographs.

At the start of the season, Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon, warned Scottish football matches could be shut down after high-profile breaches.

Dundee United manager Micky Mellon orders his players to ask the question if they are unsure about coronavirus rules

A public health source said: “The senior leadership of Dundee United Football Club have serious questions to answer as to why they have organised a full team photo putting staff and players at risk.”

The photo has been branded “disappointing and irresponsible” by Scotland’s clinical director Jason Leitch.

When did United last play?

United’s team photo was taken last Friday ahead of a free game week for Micky Mellon’s players.

It followed a win over Hamilton — the last time the team played — on Saturday November 21.

The break interrupted a seven-game unbeaten run in all competitions for the Tangerines.

The Championship title winners sit sixth in the Premiership table having won five, drawn five and lost five from their opening 15 matches.

They travel to Livingston this weekend before hosting Steven Gerrard’s in-form Rangers side at Tannadice next Sunday (December 13).

Mellon – who replaced Robbie Neilson in the United hot seat this summer – will miss the Livi and Gers fixtures due to the self-isolation period, along with his entire first-team coaching staff.

United academy coach Thomas Courts, a former Kelty Hearts boss, took training on Thursday and Friday and will replace Mellon in the dugout this weekend.

The Scottish FA and Dundee United are yet comment.

Who is Thomas Courts? Dundee United’s stand-in boss has managerial experience, playing career behind him and passion for youth development

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