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Scorries chairman backs SFA decison for total football shut down

By Matt Leslie

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Wick Academy chairman, Pat Miller, insists the suspension of all football in Scotland was "the right call to make".

The Scorries had been due to welcome Nairn County to Harmsworth Park this weekend – hoping to bounce back from their derby defeat at Brora Rangers a fortnight ago.

However, the world wide outbreak of the Coronavirus has led to stringent measures being implemented to ensure the slowing down of new cases.

Competitive football has been suspended across Europe with a number of players and coaches being diagnosed with the virus.

The Highland League has been no exception as in accordance with the SFA's directive to shut all football down, all league activity was suspended until further notice.

Miller said: "We were shocked as to how quickly it all happened last week but it was the right call to make.

"It looks like we've not seen the peak of this virus yet so to shut down the league now makes sense. The decision, of course, leaves us and all the other clubs in limbo but for all the right reasons.

"Regarding the health of our players and coaches, at this moment in time, thankfully, nobody has the the virus.

"We do though need some clarification as to whether or not the players can continue to train.

"The SFA have said that we can't even have bounce games but we're still waiting on them for guidance regarding training sessions."

Health reasons aside, a number of logistical problems look set to crop up all the way through the Scottish league pyramid.

To shut down the league now makes sense

Were the season to be ended by the SFA as all current league positions stand across the divisions, Wick Academy – currently in 10th place and out of all cup competitions – would not be affected.

Brora Rangers currently top the league with six games left and would only lose the title if they lost all six and Fraserburgh won their remaining nine and went goal-crazy in the process.

End the season now and not even Broch themselves would complain at the title being sent up to Dudgeon Park.

However, Brora would have been in line for the play-offs that could well have seen them playing at SPFL level had they got past both the Lowland League champions and bottom of the SPFL League Two side, Brechin City.

Miller added: "We are three-quarters of the way through with the current season and there is an argument to end it as the league positions stand.

"We wouldn't be affected as we are in mid-table but I would feel sorry for Brora who would have a headache given the end of season play-offs that could take them into the Scottish League might not be played.

"I do have sympathy with them but suspending the season with a view to resuming it at a later date brings with it so many combinations in terms of problems.

"Do we pile up the fixtures in order to get next season up and running as quickly as possible?

"Also, we have players who play in the County League during the summer and if a resumption happens in June or July, then our players will be conflicted to either play for us or their summer teams."

One other major factor is how the shutdown will affect the financial state of Wick Academy with speculation that many clubs could find themselves in dire straits.

Miller said: "I hate to think that the club would be financially affected. However, we would have to look at the finances and monitor the situation as it progresses."

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