Referee who was attacked in an amateur game in London says he now fears being ‘MURDERED on pitch’

A shocking assault of an amateur referee has led to fears a match official will end up being killed in grassroots football.

Satyam Toki required treatment from an ambulance crew after he was punched three times in the face by a player he sent off in a pre-season friendly on Sunday.

The 28-year-old, who has a one-month old daughter, says he was lucky not to be left blind or brain damaged and is now ‘scared to referee again’ following the incident, which was filmed and shared on social media and has been investigated by police.

Satyam Toki (pictured) was assaulted during a pre-season match he was refereeing on Sunday and suffered a nasty cut above his left eye having been punched three times

Toki had sent the player off and was then attacked with team-mates forced to intervene

Toki had sent the player off and was then attacked with team-mates forced to intervene

Toki has told Sportsmail he is pressing charges against his attacker – who is a newly-qualified teacher – because next time he ‘might bring a knife and murder a referee on the pitch’.

And that decision has been backed by referee groups, the Referees’ Association and Ref Support UK, who have both warned that an official will lose their life on the job unless they receive greater protection and offenders are handed tougher punishments.

In just the second weekend since amateur football resumed following the Covid-19 lockdown, Toki was taking charge of a friendly between NW London FC – who play in the 11th-tier Middlesex Premier Division – and Sporting Club de Mundial, a Hackney Sunday League side formed by football magazine, Mundial.

But the match in Acton, West London was abandoned after only 42 minutes when the level-five Indian-born referee suffered a bloodied eye after he was repeatedly struck by a Mundial player.

Toki had initially shown him a yellow card for dissent, an offence which leads to a 10-minute sin bin in grassroots, but then upgraded it to a red after the player threatened him.

‘I sent him off and then everything kicked off,’ says Toki, who works as a train conductor and, until this weekend, had ambitions to referee in the Football League. ‘He lost his temper and attacked me, punching me three times on my face. He tried to attack me again but some of the players stopped him. He then ran away from the ground.

The incident is by no means an isolated one and many referees have experienced abuse

The incident is by no means an isolated one and many referees have experienced abuse

The match was abandoned and Toki is scared to step onto the pitch and officiate again

The match was abandoned and Toki is scared to step onto the pitch and officiate again

‘I had excessive bleeding above my left eye. He was wearing a bracelet on his right hand. That was my mistake because I should have checked for jewellery before the match. But when he punched me, he caught me with the metal thing on his wrist. He hit me with something very sharp.

‘The manager of the home team and I called 999 for the police and someone else called for an ambulance. Thankfully I didn’t have a serious injury but he could have easily caught me in the eye and then I don’t know what would have happened.

‘My wife told me that I got away very lightly. She said, “What if you suffered loss of vision or serious brain damage – how could my family have survived?”.

‘I have been refereeing for six years, it is my hobby. But I am really scared to go out and referee again. I am still shocked from the incident.

‘I can’t believe this kind of thing can happen in football, especially in a friendly. I am still imagining what would have happened to me if this was a league game with something riding on it.

‘My family are concerned about my welfare and they don’t want me to go and referee again. I would now think 10 times to go back out there.

Toki feels he had to press charges on his attacker as he owes it to his fellow referees

Toki feels he had to press charges on his attacker as he owes it to his fellow referees 

‘I am paid £40 a match but no amount of money is worth it to go out there and get serious injuries and be disabled for the rest of your life.’

Toki was initially reluctant to press charges, saying he was ‘influenced’ by the police, who informed him his attacker was a teacher and would lose his job. But after seeking advice from fellow referees on social media, he feels he owes it to his colleagues to take further action.

‘If I don’t press charges, this individual would get away and tomorrow, who knows, he might bring a knife and murder a referee on the pitch,’ adds Toki.

‘He should be punished as much as possible as a lesson for every other individual just to think before doing this sort of action. Every team should have respect for someone refereeing their game because if there is no referee, they won’t be playing their game.’

In a statement, Mundial said: ‘We categorically condemn the horrific actions by one of our players towards the referee. The individual involved has been completely removed from the football club.’

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson confirmed: ‘Police were called at 15:16hrs on Sunday, 9 August, to reports of an assault at a sports club in East Acton Lane, W3. Officers and London Ambulance Service attended. Following initial enquiries, no allegations were substantiated.’

One player had his hands on his head in disbelief at the shocking incident in the game

One player had his hands on his head in disbelief at the shocking incident in the game

Sadly, Sunday’s incident was not an isolated one with footage emerging on the same day from another game in London when a referee was kicked on the floor and surrounded by players.

In their most-recently released figures, the FA said there were just 61 assaults on officials in the 2017-18 season. But those statistics only include attacks that were reported and then proven at a hearing.

In a recent study by the University of Portsmouth, 18.9 per cent of the 2,056 referees that were questioned in England said they had experienced physical abuse on the pitch.

‘We really do believe that, unfortunately, someone will be murdered as a match official,’ says Martin Cassidy, a former Football League referee and now chief executive of charity Ref Support UK, who has been helping Toki. ‘If that happens, we will be holding to account those people who we believe are responsible for not bringing in stronger punishments.’

In 2017, the FA introduced a mandatory five-year ban for anyone who assaults a match official, which can be extended to 10 years if it causes serious injury. For physical contact or attempted physical contact, a 182-day suspension is recommended, with a minimum of 112 days.

Cassidy, though, thinks referees should wear body cameras to enhance their protection and be able to prove offences – but those devices are currently outlawed by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the game’s rule makers.

‘We think it is irresponsible not to even have a pilot of body cams,’ adds Cassidy, who is considering challenging that IFAB rule at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. ‘I am starting to believe that they will only entertain a pilot if a match official is killed.’

The 28-year-old has a young daughter and feels lucky he wasn't blinded or brain damaged

The 28-year-old has a young daughter and feels lucky he wasn’t blinded or brain damaged 

The Referees’ Association are campaigning for tougher criminal sentences and have written to the Sentencing Council to suggest changes to their guidelines – a submission which has won the support of 50 MPs.

When sentencing for assaults, an aggravating factor that a court must consider is if the offence was committed against those ‘providing a service to the public’. Currently, however, this covers offences against the likes of shop workers and traffic wardens, but not referees, leading to some lenient sentencing.

In 2018, amateur footballer Luke Nicholls avoided jail despite knocking out referee Henry Ifesi, while one year earlier, Kieran Kimberley was also spared prison after headbutting official Craig Ward.

‘One day, we will be speaking about a referee being killed,’ Referees’ Association chairman Paul Field tells Sportsmail. ‘All the warning signs are here for it to happen and we have to do something about it.

‘This is all about prevention. The work we are doing with the Sentencing Council is all about having a proper deterrent to support match officials.

‘There needs to be an upgrade on how offenders are sentenced. The next level up would put us on parity with a traffic or park warden. We are doing our lawful duty and we don’t expect on a Sunday morning to be attacked.

‘The incident on Sunday was just disgraceful. Football has been waiting to restart for months and here we are in the second week with an assault. It beggar’s belief.

‘The FA has done as much as they can but there needs to be a real deterrent which sits behind it. It is time the Government stepped up to the plate and that the courts supported match officials.’

An FA spokesperson said: ‘We are aware of an incident that took place during a pre-season game on Sunday and we are working with London FA to provide support and ensure it is thoroughly investigated. Supporting match officials, at every level of the game, remains a key priority for The FA and for each of the 50 County FAs around the country as part of The FA’s Respect campaign.’ 

Referee who was attacked in an amateur game in London says he now fears being ‘MURDERED on pitch’

A shocking assault of an amateur referee has led to fears a match official will end up being killed in grassroots football.

Satyam Toki required treatment from an ambulance crew after he was punched three times in the face by a player he sent off in a pre-season friendly on Sunday.

The 28-year-old, who has a one-month old daughter, says he was lucky not to be left blind or brain damaged and is now ‘scared to referee again’ following the incident, which was filmed and shared on social media and has been investigated by police.

Satyam Toki (pictured) was assaulted during a pre-season match he was refereeing on Sunday and suffered a nasty cut above his left eye having been punched three times

Toki had sent the player off and was then attacked with team-mates forced to intervene

Toki had sent the player off and was then attacked with team-mates forced to intervene

Toki has told Sportsmail he is pressing charges against his attacker – who is a newly-qualified teacher – because next time he ‘might bring a knife and murder a referee on the pitch’.

And that decision has been backed by referee groups, the Referees’ Association and Ref Support UK, who have both warned that an official will lose their life on the job unless they receive greater protection and offenders are handed tougher punishments.

In just the second weekend since amateur football resumed following the Covid-19 lockdown, Toki was taking charge of a friendly between NW London FC – who play in the 11th-tier Middlesex Premier Division – and Sporting Club de Mundial, a Hackney Sunday League side formed by football magazine, Mundial.

But the match in Acton, West London was abandoned after only 42 minutes when the level-five Indian-born referee suffered a bloodied eye after he was repeatedly struck by a Mundial player.

Toki had initially shown him a yellow card for dissent, an offence which leads to a 10-minute sin bin in grassroots, but then upgraded it to a red after the player threatened him.

‘I sent him off and then everything kicked off,’ says Toki, who works as a train conductor and, until this weekend, had ambitions to referee in the Football League. ‘He lost his temper and attacked me, punching me three times on my face. He tried to attack me again but some of the players stopped him. He then ran away from the ground.

The incident is by no means an isolated one and many referees have experienced abuse

The incident is by no means an isolated one and many referees have experienced abuse

The match was abandoned and Toki is scared to step onto the pitch and officiate again

The match was abandoned and Toki is scared to step onto the pitch and officiate again

‘I had excessive bleeding above my left eye. He was wearing a bracelet on his right hand. That was my mistake because I should have checked for jewellery before the match. But when he punched me, he caught me with the metal thing on his wrist. He hit me with something very sharp.

‘The manager of the home team and I called 999 for the police and someone else called for an ambulance. Thankfully I didn’t have a serious injury but he could have easily caught me in the eye and then I don’t know what would have happened.

‘My wife told me that I got away very lightly. She said, “What if you suffered loss of vision or serious brain damage – how could my family have survived?”.

‘I have been refereeing for six years, it is my hobby. But I am really scared to go out and referee again. I am still shocked from the incident.

‘I can’t believe this kind of thing can happen in football, especially in a friendly. I am still imagining what would have happened to me if this was a league game with something riding on it.

‘My family are concerned about my welfare and they don’t want me to go and referee again. I would now think 10 times to go back out there.

Toki feels he had to press charges on his attacker as he owes it to his fellow referees

Toki feels he had to press charges on his attacker as he owes it to his fellow referees 

‘I am paid £40 a match but no amount of money is worth it to go out there and get serious injuries and be disabled for the rest of your life.’

Toki was initially reluctant to press charges, saying he was ‘influenced’ by the police, who informed him his attacker was a teacher and would lose his job. But after seeking advice from fellow referees on social media, he feels he owes it to his colleagues to take further action.

‘If I don’t press charges, this individual would get away and tomorrow, who knows, he might bring a knife and murder a referee on the pitch,’ adds Toki.

‘He should be punished as much as possible as a lesson for every other individual just to think before doing this sort of action. Every team should have respect for someone refereeing their game because if there is no referee, they won’t be playing their game.’

In a statement, Mundial said: ‘We categorically condemn the horrific actions by one of our players towards the referee. The individual involved has been completely removed from the football club.’

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson confirmed: ‘Police were called at 15:16hrs on Sunday, 9 August, to reports of an assault at a sports club in East Acton Lane, W3. Officers and London Ambulance Service attended. Following initial enquiries, no allegations were substantiated.’

One player had his hands on his head in disbelief at the shocking incident in the game

One player had his hands on his head in disbelief at the shocking incident in the game

Sadly, Sunday’s incident was not an isolated one with footage emerging on the same day from another game in London when a referee was kicked on the floor and surrounded by players.

In their most-recently released figures, the FA said there were just 61 assaults on officials in the 2017-18 season. But those statistics only include attacks that were reported and then proven at a hearing.

In a recent study by the University of Portsmouth, 18.9 per cent of the 2,056 referees that were questioned in England said they had experienced physical abuse on the pitch.

‘We really do believe that, unfortunately, someone will be murdered as a match official,’ says Martin Cassidy, a former Football League referee and now chief executive of charity Ref Support UK, who has been helping Toki. ‘If that happens, we will be holding to account those people who we believe are responsible for not bringing in stronger punishments.’

In 2017, the FA introduced a mandatory five-year ban for anyone who assaults a match official, which can be extended to 10 years if it causes serious injury. For physical contact or attempted physical contact, a 182-day suspension is recommended, with a minimum of 112 days.

Cassidy, though, thinks referees should wear body cameras to enhance their protection and be able to prove offences – but those devices are currently outlawed by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the game’s rule makers.

‘We think it is irresponsible not to even have a pilot of body cams,’ adds Cassidy, who is considering challenging that IFAB rule at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. ‘I am starting to believe that they will only entertain a pilot if a match official is killed.’

The 28-year-old has a young daughter and feels lucky he wasn't blinded or brain damaged

The 28-year-old has a young daughter and feels lucky he wasn’t blinded or brain damaged 

The Referees’ Association are campaigning for tougher criminal sentences and have written to the Sentencing Council to suggest changes to their guidelines – a submission which has won the support of 50 MPs.

When sentencing for assaults, an aggravating factor that a court must consider is if the offence was committed against those ‘providing a service to the public’. Currently, however, this covers offences against the likes of shop workers and traffic wardens, but not referees, leading to some lenient sentencing.

In 2018, amateur footballer Luke Nicholls avoided jail despite knocking out referee Henry Ifesi, while one year earlier, Kieran Kimberley was also spared prison after headbutting official Craig Ward.

‘One day, we will be speaking about a referee being killed,’ Referees’ Association chairman Paul Field tells Sportsmail. ‘All the warning signs are here for it to happen and we have to do something about it.

‘This is all about prevention. The work we are doing with the Sentencing Council is all about having a proper deterrent to support match officials.

‘There needs to be an upgrade on how offenders are sentenced. The next level up would put us on parity with a traffic or park warden. We are doing our lawful duty and we don’t expect on a Sunday morning to be attacked.

‘The incident on Sunday was just disgraceful. Football has been waiting to restart for months and here we are in the second week with an assault. It beggar’s belief.

‘The FA has done as much as they can but there needs to be a real deterrent which sits behind it. It is time the Government stepped up to the plate and that the courts supported match officials.’

An FA spokesperson said: ‘We are aware of an incident that took place during a pre-season game on Sunday and we are working with London FA to provide support and ensure it is thoroughly investigated. Supporting match officials, at every level of the game, remains a key priority for The FA and for each of the 50 County FAs around the country as part of The FA’s Respect campaign.’ 

Celtic apologise for Boli Bolingoli’s ‘irresponsible stupidity’ after he broke quarantine rules 

Nicola Sturgeon has issued Scotland’s football clubs with a final warning following Celtic defender’s Boli Bolingoli breached Covid-19 protocols by taking an unauthorised trip to Spain.

Scotland’s First Minister said she ‘doesn’t expect’ Celtic or Aberdeen’s Premiership matches this week to go ahead as scheduled.

But she stopped short of cancelling the competition outright just two matches into the campaign.

‘Consider today the yellow card, next time it will be the red card,’ Sturgeon said. 

The Scottish football season could be halted after Boli Bolingoli (left) travelled to Spain – he was introduced as a substitute in Celtic’s 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock on Sunday

The Belgian defender travelled to Spain last week in breach of coronavirus quarantine rules

The Belgian defender travelled to Spain last week in breach of coronavirus quarantine rules

Celtic boss Neil Lennon - who was unaware of the trip - played Bolingoli as a sub on Sunday

Celtic boss Neil Lennon – who was unaware of the trip – played Bolingoli as a sub on Sunday

Bolingoli’s breach of the rules came after two Aberdeen players tested positive for coronavirus after they visited a city centre restaurant following their defeat to Rangers last Saturday. 

The Dons’ game against St Johnstone was called off at the weekend and their home match against Hamilton Academical, scheduled for Wednesday night, and Saturday’s visit to Celtic now look set to follow.

Celtic are also set to play St Mirren away from home on Wednesday evening. 

Sturgeon added: ‘I think my frustration about the Aberdeen Football Club situation was pretty palpable.

‘Every day I am asking members of the public to make huge sacrifices to how they live their lives and the vast majority are doing this and it isn’t easy.

‘We can’t have privileged football players just deciding they are not going to bother. This can’t go on.

‘We have given the football authorities the opportunity to tell us how they’re going to put their house in order.

‘I don’t want the season to be in jeopardy but we have to be very clear this situation is not acceptable.

‘As a minimum, you should not be expecting to see Aberdeen or Celtic play over the course of the coming week.’

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said fans should not expect to see Aberdeen or Celtic play in the coming week but stopped short of suspending the Premiership season

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said fans should not expect to see Aberdeen or Celtic play in the coming week but stopped short of suspending the Premiership season

It came after Celtic condemned the behaviour of Bolingoli after the defender travelled to Spain on an unsanctioned trip in breach of Covid-19 quarantine rules.

The Belgian defender’s action could bring the Scottish football season to a halt after he came on as a late substitute in Celtic’s 1-1 draw at Kilmarnock on Sunday.

Now the reigning Scottish Premiership champions have apologised for Bolingoli’s actions, saying ‘it is difficult to imagine a more irresponsible action in current circumstances.’ 

Bolingoli failed to tell Celtic officials he had visited a high-risk country. Anyone arriving back in the UK from Spain has been required to self-isolate for 14 days since July 26.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon was unaware of the player’s movements when he brought Bolingoli off the bench late on at Rugby Park. 

In a statement released on Tuesday morning, Celtic expressed regret for the player’s ‘stupidity’.

Lennon speaks to Bolingoli before bringing him off the bench in Sunday's game at Rugby Park

Lennon speaks to Bolingoli before bringing him off the bench in Sunday’s game at Rugby Park

It read: ‘Celtic Football Club unreservedly condemns and apologises for the behaviour of the player Boli Bolingoli in travelling to Spain without informing the club and in failing to observe quarantine restrictions.

‘It is difficult to imagine a more irresponsible action in current circumstances and we find it beyond explanation. The Club will take immediate action through our own disciplinary procedures.

‘Celtic are in touch with every SPFL club today, and with all relevant authorities, to apologise for the fact that one of our employees has created so much additional difficulty through his actions.

‘All of our playing and backroom staff have been tested twice for Covid-19 since this incident and all, including the player in question, have tested negative. 

‘While this comes as a relief to all concerned, it in no way diminishes the seriousness or stupidity of the player’s actions. 

Celtic said the defender had tested negative for Covid-19 but an investigation has been started

Celtic said the defender had tested negative for Covid-19 but an investigation has been started

‘Since the Covid-19 crisis began, we have had a safe and healthy squad of players, recording not one positive test. As a club, we have worked tirelessly to ensure a sustained, safe environment for all.

‘We have led the way in working with the football authorities and Scottish Government to establish the most rigorous, effective protocols and working practices, which ultimately led to the resumption of football. We could have done no more in this area. 

‘It is a matter of the deepest regret to us that the behaviour of one individual has jeopardised that reputation and reflected discredit on football more generally.’ 

After belatedly learning of the trip, furious Celtic bosses hauled Bolingoli in for a heated meeting at Parkhead on Monday.

The Belgian sat among team-mates in the stands on Sunday before being brought on

The Belgian sat among team-mates in the stands on Sunday before being brought on

On Monday night the defender – who has since tested negative for the virus – said: ‘I have made a huge mistake. I want to apologise to my manager, my team-mates, the supporters, everyone at Celtic and so many others for letting them down so badly.

‘I am guilty of a major error of judgement. I know what I did was wrong and I know that I must now deal with the consequences.’

The club has now launched an internal probe.

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton said there should be ‘no way back’ for Bolingoli after his ill-advised trip to Spain.

Sutton tweeted: ‘There should be no way back for Bolingoli at Celtic now. If he knowingly went to Spain before the Kilmarnock game and broke quarantine rules he showed he really doesn’t give a s*** about his teammates, the manager and the support… Celtic should get rid immediately.’

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton tweeted that there is 'no way back' for Bolingoli at the club

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton tweeted that there is ‘no way back’ for Bolingoli at the club

His extraordinary behaviour comes after two Aberdeen players became infected with Covid-19 after eight of them visited a city restaurant after the opening day defeat by Rangers.

The players are all now self-isolating and will miss Wednesday’s game with Hamilton – should it get the go-ahead.

Last week, Sturgeon said: ‘They blatantly broke the rules that had been agreed between the SFA, the SPFL, and the Scottish Government, which, to put it mildly, is completely unacceptable.

‘Football has been given the go-ahead on the strict condition that clubs and players abide by the guidance that has been agreed.

‘They put at risk the return of the professional game. To say this incident is deeply regrettable is an understatement.

‘I’m pretty furious about this situation, because it shouldn’t have happened. If that guidance is not going to be adhered to then all bets are off.’

Aberdeen’s match with St Johnstone on Saturday was postponed.

Celtic apologise for Boli Bolingoli’s ‘irresponsible stupidity’ after he broke quarantine rules 

Celtic have condemned the behaviour of Boli Bolingoli after the defender travelled to Spain on an unsanctioned trip in breach of Covid-19 quarantine rules.

The Belgian defender’s action could bring the Scottish football season to a halt after he came on as a late substitute in Celtic’s 1-1 draw at Kilmarnock on Sunday.

Now the reigning Scottish Premiership champions have apologised for Bolingoli’s actions, saying ‘it is difficult to imagine a more irresponsible action in current circumstances.’ 

The Scottish football season could be halted after Boli Bolingoli (left) travelled to Spain – he was introduced as a substitute in Celtic’s 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock on Sunday

The Belgian defender travelled to Spain last week in breach of coronavirus quarantine rules

The Belgian defender travelled to Spain last week in breach of coronavirus quarantine rules

Celtic boss Neil Lennon - who was unaware of the trip - played Bolingoli as a sub on Sunday

Celtic boss Neil Lennon – who was unaware of the trip – played Bolingoli as a sub on Sunday

Bolingoli failed to tell Celtic officials he had visited a high-risk country. Anyone arriving back in the UK from Spain has been required to self-isolate for 14 days since July 26.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon was unaware of the player’s movements when he brought Bolingoli off the bench late on at Rugby Park.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is set to host a press conference on Tuesday lunchtime with speculation mounting the season could be halted. 

In a statement released on Tuesday morning, Celtic expressed regret for the player’s ‘stupidity’.

It read: ‘Celtic Football Club unreservedly condemns and apologises for the behaviour of the player Boli Bolingoli in travelling to Spain without informing the club and in failing to observe quarantine restrictions.

‘It is difficult to imagine a more irresponsible action in current circumstances and we find it beyond explanation. The Club will take immediate action through our own disciplinary procedures.

Lennon speaks to Bolingoli before bringing him off the bench in Sunday's game at Rugby Park

Lennon speaks to Bolingoli before bringing him off the bench in Sunday’s game at Rugby Park

‘Celtic are in touch with every SPFL club today, and with all relevant authorities, to apologise for the fact that one of our employees has created so much additional difficulty through his actions.

‘All of our playing and backroom staff have been tested twice for Covid-19 since this incident and all, including the player in question, have tested negative. 

‘While this comes as a relief to all concerned, it in no way diminishes the seriousness or stupidity of the player’s actions.

‘Since the Covid-19 crisis began, we have had a safe and healthy squad of players, recording not one positive test. As a club, we have worked tirelessly to ensure a sustained, safe environment for all.

‘We have led the way in working with the football authorities and Scottish Government to establish the most rigorous, effective protocols and working practices, which ultimately led to the resumption of football. We could have done no more in this area.

Celtic said the defender had tested negative for Covid-19 but an investigation has been started

Celtic said the defender had tested negative for Covid-19 but an investigation has been started

‘It is a matter of the deepest regret to us that the behaviour of one individual has jeopardised that reputation and reflected discredit on football more generally.’

It came as a spokesman for the Scottish Government suggested this latest breach – in the wake of several Aberdeen players testing positive for Covid-19 – could see the Premiership season halted just two games in.

‘The Scottish Government is aware of reports of a Celtic FC player having broken quarantine rules last week,’ the spokesman said. ‘We are currently in discussion with the club and football governing bodies to establish the facts.

‘If confirmed as another serious incident within Scottish football, where protocols have been breached at the risk of wider public health, then the Scottish Government will have little choice but to consider whether a pause is now needed in the resumption of the game in Scotland.’

After belatedly learning of the trip, furious Celtic bosses hauled Bolingoli in for a heated meeting at Parkhead on Monday.

The Belgian sat among team-mates in the stands on Sunday before being brought on

The Belgian sat among team-mates in the stands on Sunday before being brought on

On Monday night the defender – who has since tested negative for the virus – said: ‘I have made a huge mistake. I want to apologise to my manager, my team-mates, the supporters, everyone at Celtic and so many others for letting them down so badly.

‘I am guilty of a major error of judgement. I know what I did was wrong and I know that I must now deal with the consequences.’

The club has now launched an internal probe.

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton said there should be ‘no way back’ for Bolingoli after his ill-advised trip to Spain.

Sutton tweeted: ‘There should be no way back for Bolingoli at Celtic now. If he knowingly went to Spain before the Kilmarnock game and broke quarantine rules he showed he really doesn’t give a s*** about his teammates, the manager and the support… Celtic should get rid immediately.’

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton tweeted that there is 'no way back' for Bolingoli at the club

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton tweeted that there is ‘no way back’ for Bolingoli at the club

His extraordinary behaviour comes after two Aberdeen players became infected with Covid-19 after eight of them visited a city restaurant after the opening day defeat by Rangers.

The players are all now self-isolating and will miss Wednesday’s game with Hamilton – should it get the go-ahead.

Last week, Sturgeon said: ‘They blatantly broke the rules that had been agreed between the SFA, the SPFL, and the Scottish Government, which, to put it mildly, is completely unacceptable.

‘Football has been given the go-ahead on the strict condition that clubs and players abide by the guidance that has been agreed.

‘They put at risk the return of the professional game. To say this incident is deeply regrettable is an understatement.

‘I’m pretty furious about this situation, because it shouldn’t have happened. If that guidance is not going to be adhered to then all bets are off.’

Aberdeen’s match with St Johnstone on Saturday was postponed.

Scottish football season could be HALTED after Celtic defender Boli Bolingoli travelled to Spain

Scottish football season could be HALTED after it emerges Celtic defender Boli Bolingoli broke quarantine rules with a secret trip to Spain before featuring against Kilmarnock

  • The Scottish football season could be halted after a Celtic star travelled to Spain 
  • Boli Bolingoli visited the country last week on an unsanctioned trip  
  • The trip is a clear breach of coronavirus quarantine rules on all clubs
  • Bolingoli failed to tell club officials that he had visited the high-risk country 

The Scottish football season could be called to a halt after Celtic defender Boli Bolingoli travelled to Spain last week on an unsanctioned trip in clear breach of Covid-19 quarantine rules.

The Belgian defender took his place on the bench at Rugby Park on Sunday after failing to tell Celtic officials he had recently been to a high-risk country.

Unaware of the player’s movements, Celtic boss Neil Lennon put the defender on as a late substitute in the 1-1 draw when he should have been self-isolating at home – putting every player and match official at risk. Anyone arriving back in UK nations from Spain since July 26 has been required to self-isolate for 14 days.

The Scottish football season could be halted after Boli Bolingoli (left) travelled to Spain

And on Monday night a Scottish Government spokesman said that after this latest breach it may be time to halt to the season – just two games into the new campaign.

‘The Scottish Government is aware of reports of a Celtic FC player having broken quarantine rules last week,’ the spokesman said. ‘We are currently in discussion with the club and football governing bodies to establish the facts.

‘If confirmed as another serious incident within Scottish football, where protocols have been breached at the risk of wider public health, then the Scottish Government will have little choice but to consider whether a pause is now needed in the resumption of the game in Scotland.’

After belatedly learning of the trip, furious Celtic bosses hauled Bolingoli in for a heated meeting at Parkhead on Monday.

The Belgian defender travelled to Spain last week in breach of coronavirus quarantine rules

The Belgian defender travelled to Spain last week in breach of coronavirus quarantine rules

On Monday night the defender – who has since tested negative for the virus – said: ‘I have made a huge mistake. I want to apologise to my manager, my team-mates, the supporters, everyone at Celtic and so many others for letting them down so badly.

‘I am guilty of a major error of judgement. I know what I did was wrong and I know that I must now deal with the consequences.’

The club has now launched an internal probe.

A spokesman said: ‘Celtic Football Club has taken its response to Covid-19 extremely seriously and we are pleased that, to date, we have recorded no positive tests.

‘Our staff have given so much in this area, working tirelessly to ensure that all players and other club personnel are safe, fully aware of their own responsibilities and familiar with all guidance and protocols.

‘Safety must always be our priority.

‘Clearly, a full investigation will now take place and the club will take all appropriate action.

‘Subsequent to the player’s return he has recorded two negative tests in the past week.’

Celtic boss Neil Lennon - who was unaware of the trip - played Bolingoli as a sub on Sunday

Celtic boss Neil Lennon – who was unaware of the trip – played Bolingoli as a sub on Sunday

Bolingoli joined the Hoops from Rapid Vienna for £3million in July 2019 and made 28 appearances for the club last season.

His extraordinary behaviour comes after two Aberdeen players became infected with Covid-19 after eight of them visited a city restaurant after the opening day defeat by Rangers.

The players are all now self-isolating and will miss Wednesday’s game with Hamilton – should it get the go-ahead.

Last week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: ‘They blatantly broke the rules that had been agreed between the SFA, the SPFL, and the Scottish Government, which, to put it mildly, is completely unacceptable.

‘Football has been given the go-ahead on the strict condition that clubs and players abide by the guidance that has been agreed.

‘They put at risk the return of the professional game. To say this incident is deeply regrettable is an understatement.

‘I’m pretty furious about this situation, because it shouldn’t have happened. If that guidance is not going to be adhered to then all bets are off.’

Aberdeen’s match with St Johnstone on Saturday was postponed.

Lockdown measures have already been reintroduced in Aberdeen as the number of cases in the area grew.

Bolingoli’s gaffe comes after Celtic warned Leigh Griffiths about his conduct after pictures of a party at the striker’s house appeared to show more than the eight people who are currently permitted to attend under social distancing guidelines.

Lennon later said of the Griffiths incident: ‘I’m not convinced it’s a big issue.’

Coronavirus: Organisers reveal 24 Hours of Le Mans race will be held without ANY fans

Organisers reveal the world-famous 24 Hours of Le Mans race will be held without ANY fans this year because of coronavirus, 12 months after 250,000 crammed in to watch the cult event

  • Le Mans organisers have confirmed that this year’s 24-race will be without fans
  • In 2019 the historic motorsport event welcome 250,000 spectators to the race
  • The endurance event began in 1923 and has gained worldwide recognition ever since with American actor Steve McQueen the star of hit 1971 film ‘Le Mans’ 

The historic annual 24 Hours of Le Mans race is to go ahead without spectators due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  

Le Mans is one of the most celebrated events in the motorsport calendar and last year’s race saw more than 250,000 attend to witness it. 

It was expected that a small number of fans would head to the 8.48-mile long Circuit de la Sarthe for its September 19 start this year for what is the 88th edition of the famous car race but that will not happen. 

The 24 Hours of Le Mans race will go ahead behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic

The famous race attracted 250,000 spectators last year but due to a spike in positive cases in France a decision was made to exclude fans from the 88th edition of the race in September

The famous race attracted 250,000 spectators last year but due to a spike in positive cases in France a decision was made to exclude fans from the 88th edition of the race in September

The scale of the pandemic has forced organisers – who worked closely with health officials and government ministers – into a U-turn and they announced on Monday that aside from a limited number of journalists on hand to cover the event, the 2020 race would see no fans present. 

This will be the first time in the history of the Le Mans race that fans will not be there to see it in person.  

Speaking on Monday, Pierre Fillon, president of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (AOC), said: ‘The 88th 24 Hours of Le Mans will go down in the annals of history as, sadly, the world’s greatest endurance race will be run this year with no spectators trackside. 

‘Over the last few weeks, we have looked at many ways in which we could hold our event in September with fans present, albeit in limited numbers. 

‘However, given the constraints involved in organising a festival-scale event over several days in the current situation, we have opted with the local government authorities to hold the race behind closed doors. 

‘There were still too many question marks regarding health and safety. We know that our fans will be as disappointed as we are by this decision but, with public health in the balance, it really wasn’t a difficult call to make. 

‘You don’t compromise where safety is concerned.’

Organisers confirmed that they were unwilling to compromise when it came to fan safety

Organisers confirmed that they were unwilling to compromise when it came to fan safety

A photo from 2017 shows the huge interest in the race, which first began back in 1923

A photo from 2017 shows the huge interest in the race, which first began back in 1923

The decision to expel spectators from the event next month comes following a spike in positive Covid-19 cases in France. Last year 25,000 Brits went to the race but the impact of the pandemic has put an end to many making the trip this time round. 

The AOC’s initial plan was reportedly to have small groups of spectators in social bubbles of up to 5,000 people. 

Unlike Grand Prix events as seen in Formula One racing, 24 Hours of Le Mans is more about endurance than speed. 

Teams involved in the race cover a distance roughly 18 times longer than an F1 Grand Prix. 

Fans turn out in their hundreds of thousands to witness how cars survive such a taxing and enduring race and heading into its 88th race since its inception in 1923, it has gained worldwide recognition. 

A number of films have been made about the race with the 1971 movie entitled ‘Le Mans‘ starring American actor Steve McQueen in the role of Michael Delaney among the most famous. 

Many films have been made about the endurance race with Steve McQueen's performance as Michael Delaney in the 1971 film 'Le Mans' remembered as one of the most memorable

Many films have been made about the endurance race with Steve McQueen’s performance as Michael Delaney in the 1971 film ‘Le Mans’ remembered as one of the most memorable

The film starring McQueen focuses on Delaney suffering a horror crash with Claude Aurac on what is the most intense track to compete and survive on for those taking part. 

Earlier editions of the race were fraught with danger and the 1955 Le Mans disaster remains the worst accident in motorsport history, when 84 people were killed including driver Pierre Levegh. After hitting the back of Lance Macklin’s Austin-Healey at high speed, Levegh’s Mercedes-Benz was sent hurtling through the air before crashing into a spectator area and bursting into flames. Thankfully, safety standards have improved greatly since then.

Le Mans is the latest major motorsport event to see fans barred from attending on health grounds. 

Formula One is five races into their rearranged 2020 season and all five races – two in Austria, one in Hungary and two at Silverstone in the UK – have been held without spectators. 

The Indianapolis 500, which regularly attracts around 300,000 fans each year, will also go ahead without fans. Having been pushed back to August 23 it had been hoped that the event in Indiana could welcome back fans but the pandemic is yet to be controlled in the United States and it remains too dangerous a risk on health grounds.  

BBC pundit and former England footballer Eni Aluko cries as she leaves court in Barbados

Former England footballer Eni Aluko was left weeping as she left court in Barbados following a breach of her coronavirus quarantine. 

Aluko, 33, was reprimanded for leaving her hotel accommodation and taking public transport on Friday despite her Covid-19 test results being delayed. 

She was spotted after images surfaced on social media, she was tracked down by Barbadian officials and given a warning in court.    

The BBC pundit was charged with disobeying the order of the Chief Medical Officer and was left in tears as she was escorted out of court. 

BBC pundit Eni Aluko (right) was in tears as she exited a courthouse in Barbados having been brought in for breaking her quarantine period as she awaited her Covid-19 test results

Aluko, 33, was tracked down by police after breaching her mandatory hotel quarantine

Aluko, 33, was tracked down by police after breaching her mandatory hotel quarantine

The former England international (left) came before a Magistrate who reminded her that she knew her actions were wrong to leave her hotel as she waited for her Covid-19 test results

The former England international (left) came before a Magistrate who reminded her that she knew her actions were wrong to leave her hotel as she waited for her Covid-19 test results

Aluko’s results eventually came back negative for Covid-19 but at the time she left her hotel that was undetermined and her actions were considered a risk to general population. 

Magistrate Douglas Frederick, who oversaw Aluko’s hearing, warned the former England international that her venture out of the hotel placed others at risk. 

Aluko said in her defence that she was confused by the rules on movement as she waited for her results, and she was not prevented from leaving by the hotel.  

Barbados has recorded 138 Covid-19 cases and of those so far there have 108 recoveries and seven deaths.  

Aluko (right) previously was an international footballer for England and remains high-profile

Aluko (right) previously was an international footballer for England and remains high-profile

She was guided up the steps to the Magistrates court and was contrite in her statements

She was guided up the steps to the Magistrates court and was contrite in her statements

Aluko, England Women’s 10th most-capped player, stayed at the five-star Little Arches Hotel during her stay in Barbados, with prices starting at £228-a-night. 

When questioned the BBC pundit accepted that she was aware that as a visitor to Barbados, she knew she was supposed to stay indoors until the Covid-19 test results came back.  

‘I came here on the basis that there were more relaxed rules,’ Aluko was reported to have said in court by Barbadian publication Nation News. 

‘I love Barbados. I came here in 2015. I came here for vacation. I would never, ever try to break any rules.

‘I understand that I should have waited on the test. I didn’t think I had to, I thought I had to wait a maximum of time. Honestly, your worship if they had stopped me from leaving. I would have complied.’

Aluko works as a television pundit having retired as a player and is often seen on the BBC

Aluko works as a television pundit having retired as a player and is often seen on the BBC

With the hearing concluded, Aluko stood in tears on the steps of the court and said that while she was not fined or imprisoned for her actions, she was planning to pay a fine regardless as an acceptance of her wrongdoing. 

The offer made by Aluko was said to have been seen as a sign of contrition by Magistrate Frederick. 

Aluko, who is now the Sporting Director for Aston Villa women’s team, grabbed headlines last month following a social media row with ex-Chelsea team-mate Bethany England regarding the UK government’s furlough scheme.

In a tweet on her Twitter profile, the 33-year-old wrote that furloughing ‘is needed but has created a culture of do-nothing entitlement.’ The most was widely criticised and was later deleted, coupled with an apology for ‘any offence caused’. 

Aluko’s England career came to a head in 2017 after she made allegations of ‘bullying and discrimination’ against then-manager Mark Sampson. 

Aluko drew widespread criticism last month for her comments on UK government furlough

Aluko drew widespread criticism last month for her comments on UK government furlough

Her former Chelsea team-mate Bethany England did not take kindly to the comments by Aluko

Her former Chelsea team-mate Bethany England did not take kindly to the comments by Aluko

An inquiry later ruled that Sampson had made racially offensive remarks to Aluko and also Drew Spence, forcing an apology from the Football Association. 

Aluko is the latest former footballer to fall foul of quarantine rules after former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes was visited by police last week after he hosted an illegal house party for his son’s 21st birthday, despite further lockdown rules being imposed in Oldham. 

Greater Manchester Police attended the football coach’s £3.5million property after he went ahead with celebrations for his son Arron’s 21st last Friday despite a new lockdown being imposed at midnight on Thursday. 

Under the new lockdown rules, which came in force after Oldham saw a 240 per cent surge in cases at the end of last month, residents are not allowed to invite social visitors beyond those in their support bubble into their homes. 

BBC pundit and former England footballer Eni Aluko cries as she leaves court in Barbados

BBC pundit and former England footballer Eni Aluko cries as she leaves court in Barbados after she was warned for breaching coronavirus quarantine by leaving her hotel and taking public transport

  • Eni Aluko, 33, was left in tears outside court in Barbados after she was caught breaching the country’s quarantine rules for visitors on social media
  • The former England footballer was seen on social media after she left her hotel
  • She stayed at the Little Arches Hotel as she waited for her Covid-19 test results 
  • The results – which came back negative – were delayed but she still left the hotel  

Former England footballer Eni Aluko was left weeping as she left court in Barbados following a breach of her coronavirus quarantine. 

Aluko, 33, was reprimanded for leaving her hotel accommodation and taking public transport on Friday despite her Covid-19 test results being delayed. 

She was spotted after images surfaced on social media, she was tracked down by Barbadian officials and given a warning in court.    

The BBC pundit was charged with disobeying the order of the Chief Medical Officer and was left in tears as she was escorted out of court. 

BBC pundit Eni Aluko (right) was in tears as she exited a courthouse in Barbados having been brought in for breaking her quarantine period as she awaited her Covid-19 test results

Aluko, 33, was tracked down by police after breaching her mandatory hotel quarantine

Aluko, 33, was tracked down by police after breaching her mandatory hotel quarantine

The former England international (left) came before a Magistrate who reminded her that she knew her actions were wrong to leave her hotel as she waited for her Covid-19 test results

The former England international (left) came before a Magistrate who reminded her that she knew her actions were wrong to leave her hotel as she waited for her Covid-19 test results

Aluko’s results eventually came back negative for Covid-19 but at the time she left her hotel that was undetermined and her actions were considered a risk to general population. 

Magistrate Douglas Frederick, who oversaw Aluko’s hearing, warned the former England international that her venture out of the hotel placed others at risk. 

Aluko said in her defence that she was confused by the rules on movement as she waited for her results, and she was not prevented from leaving by the hotel.  

Barbados has recorded 138 Covid-19 cases and of those so far there have 108 recoveries and seven deaths.  

Aluko (right) previously was an international footballer for England and remains high-profile

Aluko (right) previously was an international footballer for England and remains high-profile

She was guided up the steps to the Magistrates court and was contrite in her statements

She was guided up the steps to the Magistrates court and was contrite in her statements

Aluko, England Women’s 10th most-capped player, stayed at the five-star Little Arches Hotel during her stay in Barbados, with prices starting at £228-a-night. 

When questioned the BBC pundit accepted that she was aware that as a visitor to Barbados, she knew she was supposed to stay indoors until the Covid-19 test results came back.  

‘I came here on the basis that there were more relaxed rules,’ Aluko was reported to have said in court by Barbadian publication Nation News. 

‘I love Barbados. I came here in 2015. I came here for vacation. I would never, ever try to break any rules.

‘I understand that I should have waited on the test. I didn’t think I had to, I thought I had to wait a maximum of time. Honestly, your worship if they had stopped me from leaving. I would have complied.’

Aluko works as a television pundit having retired as a player and is often seen on the BBC

Aluko works as a television pundit having retired as a player and is often seen on the BBC

With the hearing concluded, Aluko stood in tears on the steps of the court and said that while she was not fined or imprisoned for her actions, she was planning to pay a fine regardless as an acceptance of her wrongdoing. 

The offer made by Aluko was said to have been seen as a sign of contrition by Magistrate Frederick. 

Aluko, who is now the Sporting Director for Aston Villa women’s team, grabbed headlines last month following a social media row with ex-Chelsea team-mate Bethany England regarding the UK government’s furlough scheme.

In a tweet on her Twitter profile, the 33-year-old wrote that furloughing ‘is needed but has created a culture of do-nothing entitlement.’ The most was widely criticised and was later deleted, coupled with an apology for ‘any offence caused’.  

Aluko is the latest former footballer to fall foul of quarantine rules after former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes was visited by police last week after he hosted an illegal house party for his son’s 21st birthday, despite further lockdown rules being imposed in Oldham. 

Greater Manchester Police attended the football coach’s £3.5million property after he went ahead with celebrations for his son Arron’s 21st last Friday despite a new lockdown being imposed at midnight on Thursday.  

Under the new lockdown rules, which came in force after Oldham saw a 240 per cent surge in cases at the end of last month, residents are not allowed to invite social visitors beyond those in their support bubble into their homes.

More to follow. 

Two men arrested after former England star Kieron Dyer was allegedly racially abused at golf club 

Two men arrested after former England and Newcastle star Kieron Dyer was allegedly racially abused at Suffolk golf club with playing partner informing him of another member saying ‘monkey’ and ‘banana’

  • Two men have been arrested after Kieron Dyer was allegedly racially abused 
  • The incident involving the alleged abuse took place at Hintlesham Golf Club
  • Dyer’s playing partner had informed him of another member using racial slurs
  • The racist remarks allegedly included the vile terms ‘monkey’ and ‘banana’ 

Two men have been arrested after former England midfielder Kieron Dyer was subjected to alleged racial abuse at a Suffolk golf club.

Suffolk Police were informed about the incident at Hintlesham Golf Club, which involved the racial abuse on Friday, at the weekend. 

A man in his 50s has been arrested on suspicion of a racially-aggravated public order offence and on suspicion of a malicious communications offence.

Two men have been arrested after Kieron Dyer (pictured) was racially abused at a golf club

Police were informed about the incident, which took place on Friday, at Hintlesham Golf Club

Police were informed about the incident, which took place on Friday, at Hintlesham Golf Club

Another man in his 30s has also been arrested on suspicion of a malicious communications offence.

Dyer, who also played for Newcastle during his career, was left ‘deeply upset’ after the racial slur.

The 41-year-old revealed he had not heard the abuse himself, but was informed about another club member using the words ‘monkey’ and ‘banana’ as part of the vile smear.

The alleged comments were directed towards Dyer after he had left the golf club, which is based near Ipswich, following a round. 

The ex-footballer has also admitted that he has since given up his membership at the course

The ex-footballer has also admitted that he has since given up his membership at the course

They were reportedly also heard by others inside the bar nearby.  

Dyer told the East Anglian Daily Times: ‘I was left shocked when told.

‘For me this is a deeply upsetting incident. I was appalled to be told of what had been said and it is clear to me there is still a long way to go in the battle against racism.’ 

The ex-footballer also admitted that he has since given up his membership at the course, at which he had been a member for several years.

He made 33 appearances in total for England during his time on the field and retired in 2013. 

Two men arrested after former England star Kieron Dyer was allegedly racially abused at golf club 

Two men arrested after former England and Newcastle star Kieron Dyer was allegedly racially abused at Suffolk golf club with playing partner informing him of another member saying ‘monkey’ and ‘banana’

  • Two men have been arrested after Kieron Dyer was allegedly racially abused 
  • The incident involving the alleged abuse took place at Hintlesham Golf Club
  • Dyer’s playing partner had informed him of another member using racial slurs
  • The racist remarks allegedly included the vile terms ‘monkey’ and ‘banana’ 

Two men have been arrested after former England midfielder Kieron Dyer was subjected to alleged racial abuse at a Suffolk golf club.

Suffolk Police were informed about the incident at Hintlesham Golf Club, which involved the racial abuse on Friday, at the weekend. 

A man in his 50s has been arrested on suspicion of a racially-aggravated public order offence and on suspicion of a malicious communications offence.

Two men have been arrested after Kieron Dyer (pictured) was racially abused at a golf club

Police were informed about the incident, which took place on Friday, at Hintlesham Golf Club

Police were informed about the incident, which took place on Friday, at Hintlesham Golf Club

Another man in his 30s has also been arrested on suspicion of a malicious communications offence.

Dyer, who also played for Newcastle during his career, was left ‘deeply upset’ after the racial slur.

The 41-year-old revealed he had not heard the abuse himself, but was informed about another club member using the words ‘monkey’ and ‘banana’ as part of the vile smear.

The alleged comments were directed towards Dyer after he had left the golf club, which is based near Ipswich, following a round. 

The ex-footballer has also admitted that he has since given up his membership at the course

The ex-footballer has also admitted that he has since given up his membership at the course

They were reportedly also heard by others inside the bar nearby.  

Dyer told the East Anglian Daily Times: ‘I was left shocked when told.

‘For me this is a deeply upsetting incident. I was appalled to be told of what had been said and it is clear to me there is still a long way to go in the battle against racism.’ 

The ex-footballer also admitted that he has since given up his membership at the course, at which he had been a member for several years.

He made 33 appearances in total for England during his time on the field and retired in 2013.