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Football clubs could wait until May to play again

By Will Clark

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Halkirk United and Thurso may have to wait until current lockdown restrictions are lifted until they are able to resume playing in the North Caledonian League again.

ryan sutherland and thurso striker cameron montgomery copete for the ball.
ryan sutherland and thurso striker cameron montgomery copete for the ball.

North Caledonian Football Association president Iain Whitehead admitted it is unlikely the season can restart until testing is no longer a necessary factor in football being played.

Last week, League One, League Two and the Scottish Cup were given permission to restart on the condition clubs carried out PCR testing to ensure players were not positive for Covid-19.

However, non-league clubs, including the Highland League, North Caledonian League and women’s lower league football remain suspended until further notice.

The Scottish Government said lockdown will not be lifted until Monday, April 26 with the first Saturday, not until May 1.

Whitehead admitted that could be the earliest NCFA clubs could return to playing competitive football, but is hopeful the campaign can be finished.

“We are probably looking at competitive games starting again towards the end of April,” he said.

“That is possibly going to be the case.

“But it is still a case of having to wait and see, but it looks like any football will happen, at the earliest, at the end of next month.”

Whitehead also said NCFA clubs being able to afford any sort of testing to allow players to take part in matches is a non-starter.

“That is too much of an expense for any of our clubs to take on,” he said.

“It will never be an option for the North Caledonian League to allow it to restart with the practicalities involved.”

The North Caledonian Football Association suspended all its competitions in December due to the rising number of cases in the country.

One month later on January 12, the Scottish Football Association announced all competitions below Premiership and Championship level were suspended.

However, League One and League Two, along with Scottish Women’s Premier League One is set to return on Saturday, March 20, with the Scottish Cup returning on Tuesday, March 23.

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