First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says Aberdeen players “blatantly broke the rules” in the lead-up to Saturday’s Scottish Premiership game against St Johnstone being postponed.
Two players tested positive for Covid-19 and six others are self-isolating after coming within “close proximity” in an Aberdeen bar on Saturday.
Sturgeon said she was “pretty furious” about the situation.
It is not yet clear if Aberdeen will face any sanction under league rules.
They are due to host Hamilton Academical on Wednesday and are then away to Celtic the following Saturday.
Saturday’s game at McDiarmid Park was part of the second weekend of Premiership fixtures after last season was halted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Initially, it had appeared that the game in Perth would go ahead despite Aberdeen being forced to cancel training on Thursday and facing the prospect of playing without eight squad members forced to self-isolate.
But the postponement came at the request of the Scottish government after a meeting between minister for public health and sport Joe Fitzpatrick, the Scottish FA and Scottish Professional Football League.
“I think that is the right decision,” Sturgeon said. “We are expecting members of the public to behave in a highly precautionary manner right now and, when a football club ends up with players infected with Covid – and let’s remember this is not through bad luck but through clear breaches of the rules – we cannot take even the small risk that they spread the infection to other parts of the country.”
Sturgeon said the Scottish government would be contacting all clubs to emphasise the importance of complying with the guidance and hoped “lessons will be learned”.
“Football has been given the go-ahead on the strict condition that clubs and players abide by the guidance that has been agreed. If they don’t do that, they put at risk the return of the professional game,” she said. “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.”
St Johnstone expressed their disappointed at the postponement but stressed that “the health and wellbeing of everybody is of paramount importance in this situation”.
All eight Aberdeen players were in a bar linked to the city’s Covid-19 spike on Saturday following their opening-day defeat by Rangers.
One of the initial cases was confirmed by a follow-up NHS test and the other player is awaiting further results.
Both are asymptomatic but are self-isolating along with six players who were “in close proximity”.
In a social media post on Friday, Aberdeen chairman Cormack appealed for “patience” with the affected players, adding that everyone “is prone to errors of judgement” and “it is all about how we respond to something we wish had not happened”.