Off-field relegation for Greens a real prospect
Caithness rugby club President, George Sinclair, has admitted the possibility of the Greens being relegated off the pitch could become real.
With football being suspended nationwide until the Coronavirus situation comes to an end, rugby union was no different with the Scottish Rugby Union calling a halt to all levels of the game.
A statement released by the SRU said: "In light of government restrictions on public gatherings and the resulting pressure on emergency services and healthcare provision, Scottish Rugby has decided there will be a short period without domestic competition (or training) whilst a further assessment can be made. This will be in effect up to, and including March 29, 2020.
"This will impact rugby in all domestic league and cup fixtures, training, festivals and other rugby events as well. During this suspension period Scottish Rugby will undertake further assessment and advise on any further action that may be required.
"The Scottish Rugby Age-Grade Programme (male and female) will also be cancelled with immediate effect for the remainder of the season. This includes all training sessions that were planned for the age-grade teams as well as all other age-grade internationals for the rest of the season."
An SRU spokesperson added: "We have taken on board all expert medical advice before now and we are taking a precautionary approach to give time to assess what the impact of Coronavirus will be on Scottish society in the coming weeks before deciding on next steps.
"This decision has been taken with the best interest of everyone involved in the game and in support of the country's work to address the impact of Coronavirus."
We would be back to where we were two years ago – back to playing regional rugby
However, with the prospect of the tail end of the current season overlapping into the new one – set to begin this September – there is the possibility of end this season as the league standings are.
Should that decision be rubber-stamped, then Caithness – who are currently third from bottom in National League Division Three – would be relegated to the Caledonia League.
Sinclair said: "If that happens, then we would be back to where we were two years ago – back to playing regional rugby.
"Some might say 'you probably would have been relegated on current form anyway' but as it stands, while we need teams above us to drop points, that could happen along with ourselves picking up the wins needed to avoid relegation.
"Should the season be ended now, the club's committee would need to meet up and discuss the options available to us."
In light of club's losing match revenue and sponsorship from the enforced shutdown, the SRU have launched a £500,000 hardship fund open to all clubs to apply for to compensate for the abrupt loss of income.
SRU Chief Executive, Mark Dodson said: "These are unprecedented times and we are acutely aware of the significant day to day financial challenges our member clubs will face in the coming weeks if fixtures cannot be resumed in the mid to long term and other planned fund-raising initiatives are curtailed."
Whether or not the Greens themselves would apply for a hardship award, Mr Sinclair re-affirmed that it would be another issue to be considered in the boardroom.
He said: "Again that would be something the club's committee would need to discuss before deciding whether or not to make an application."