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No break for North Caledonian League clubs who decide to play on despite record levels of Covid-19


By Andrew Henderson

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The North Caledonian League has decided to continue on over the coming weeks despite Covid hitting record high levels.

With the Scottish Premiership electing to bring forward their winter break after new restrictions were brought in to limit the number of supporters permitted in stadia, other levels of the game began to contemplate whether they should continue.

By and large, they have, and after a meeting on Wednesday night it was confirmed that the majority wanted to play on where possible.

The North Caledonian League will continue despite record levels of Covid-19. Picture: Callum Mackay
The North Caledonian League will continue despite record levels of Covid-19. Picture: Callum Mackay

There may still be the occasional match forced off because of cases within a squad, and at this time of the year weather will always be a factor in getting matches played, but there will be no official pause put on the campaign.

"They're just going to try and play the games," North Caledonian FA president Iain Whitehead said.

"They're going to see if they can get teams, even if certain players might have it.

"They will just try and field teams from their squads – and they've all got pretty large squads.

"They're going to try and get through the next few weeks and see what games they can get played, because the weather will probably halt a few games anyway."

In the past, the North Caley League has been cautious when it comes to handling Covid – ending the 2019/20 campaign early and splitting last season into two divisions to minimise the number of contacts involved and games to be played if there were issues.

This season, though, has run about as smoothly as could be expected, and Whitehead suspects players and teams wanted to maintain the status quo.

"If they paused just now, it's not going to be any different in two or three weeks time," he reasoned.

"There are probably going to be people with cases, it's something that's probably going to affect us all the time right through until the end of the season, so they will just try and field teams as best they can.

"I think they just want to get back to some form of normality, so they're going to battle on through the weather and Covid and see how it goes."

All that said, Whitehead also pointed out that clubs who may be slightly less comfortable with the decision still have options to make games as safe as possible.

"If they want to socially distance, use their own cars, it's up to them," he added.

"They can risk assess their own pitch, their own changing rooms and play on. They're happy to do it, so games will be on on Saturday weather-permitting."


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