Doha (AFP) – Qatar’s Football Association fined former Barcelona star Xavi Hernandez and several other top-flight players and staff $2,700 each for breaching coronavirus rules, it said in a statement on Thursday.
Xavi, head coach of Qatari side Al-Sadd, revealed at the end of July that he had contracted the virus but just days later he said he had returned home and to work.
The penalty, which included an official warning from the league, was because of “non-compliance with the Ministry of Public Health’s safety protocols including breaching a home quarantine pledge signed by him”, the statement said.
Al-Sadd players Hammam al-Amin and Abdul Karim Hassan also faced fines of 10,000 riyals ($2,700) and warnings from the QFA’s disciplinary committee, as did players and staff from several other Qatari teams.
It is not clear if the sanctions related to the two-week mandatory quarantine period that Qatari authorities applied to those returning to the country at the height of the pandemic.
The quarantine period has since been reduced to one week for those returning to Qatar from countries deemed “low-risk”.
The Qatar Stars League resumed competition on July 24 with strict social distancing rules, routine testing of players and staff and a blanket ban on media attendance.
Matches were halted in March to stem the spread of COVID-19.
More than 4 percent of Qatar’s 2.75 million people have had coronavirus, with 112,092 cases reported since the start of the pandemic giving the tiny Gulf state one of the highest per capita total infection rates.
However the gas-rich country has posted just 178 deaths meaning it has one of the world’s lowest virus death rates and 108,831 people have recovered from COVID-19, according to official statistics.
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