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Caithness Summer football could be cancelled for second year running

By Will Clark

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CAITHNESS amateur football clubs are facing a second summer without kicking a ball due to the impact of coronavirus.

Thurso Acks taking on Castletown during the 2019 Caithness Amateur League season.
Thurso Acks taking on Castletown during the 2019 Caithness Amateur League season.

Caithness Amateur Football Association (CAFA) president Murray Coghill believes if they can’t start the season by June, like last year, there is little chance of the 2021 campaign kicking off.

Non-league and amateur football level remains suspended due to the lockdown restrictions, with no target restart dates set by the Scottish Government or Scottish FA.

Last season was scrapped after football was suspended in March after the first wave of the virus which resulted in all 15 Caithness football clubs not being able to play.

The CAFA held a meeting last week to discuss the future of the 2021 season and while no decision has been made, Coghill says as things stand, it looks bleak.

“We are waiting for the Scottish Amateur Football Association and the Scottish Government to send some guidance,” he said.

“But at the moment there is not much chance of us being allowed to play grassroots football for some time.

“We would usually start in April, but at the moment we are in limbo.

“There is a fixture list from last year for the league and the cups and we would be ready to go.

“But, in my view, football should be enjoyable for everyone and at the moment we can’t go in the changing rooms.

“Guys can’t drive in cars together and we aren’t allowed fans, there is no enjoyment in football at the moment.”

Coghill says the rollout of the vaccine is the biggest hope of deciding when football can start.

“At the moment, we have footballers who are being told by their employers to stay and work from home if they can,” he said.

“Due to that, is it morally right for us to be playing football just now?”

Coghill says if amateur football is in a realistic position of being played later this year, they might come up with some alternative ideas to stage a season.

“If a season can start, I said to the committee that I would rather go with half a league season, rather than play cup competitions,” said Coghill.

“At least if there is only time to play each other once, teams would get the same amount of matches rather than if they did playing in cup competitions, where some teams might only be able to play once this season if they get knocked out.

“If we get into June, it is probably going to be a non-starter.

“Honestly, I can’t see any football with the restrictions that we are under.”

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