Chris Wilson has revealed the sponsored Spark of Genius Central Scottish AFL have a constructive re-start plan in place – with options available – as the country heads towards the New Year. The top-table Administrator and Over-35 League Chief told me: “Tom, firstly can I apologise for the delay in getting this to you. The Attached Article had to be firstly approved by our Executive Committee prior to sending this to you. This is what we as a League have planned, and our clubs agreed to in order that our clubs get as good a shot at competitive football when we start back. By leaving all our options open, we think that it gives us a good platform to start playing when we are given the green light.”
Following the decision of the Scottish Government and Football authorities to suspend Amateur Football during March of this year and with the uncertainty that was to follow, the League Executive Committee held a series of consultative meetings with clubs in Membership to establish a way forward as and when permission would be given to restart, following a Special General Meeting and subsequently the Annual General Committee Meeting held in June of this year the following was agreed.
1. The Premier and 1st Division Championships, as and when permission is given to restart will commence, and when Champions have been decided and Promotion and Relegation has also been decided, the League Championships will be “Called” as finished.
2.The remaining two fixtures in the League Cup (Bunrigh Trophy) one Semi-Final and Final will be played on a date to be arranged by the Match Secretary.
3. All other competitions i.e. Cinema Cup, M&M Trophy and McEwan’s Challenge Trophy will be suspended and reviewed depending on the restart date.
4. Sectional Play -Offs to decide the League Division One Championship will be played on a date to be arranged by the Match Secretary.
Season 2020/2021 would run in tandem with Season 2019/20, with a re-aligned domestic cup programme.
Planning began at an early stage with midweek games being played to complete last season, with the league covering the cost of grounds for the relevant midweek fixtures, Saturday’s would be set aside for a combination of Season 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 fixtures, the League also reduced League fees and paid the public liability insurance for clubs to assist them financially for the current season.
Clubs then began planning for the return to football within the new restrictions as laid down by the Scottish Government, Sport Scotland and the Scottish FA by completing E Learning Training Courses to ensure they complied with all the guidelines, and importantly Club Officials attaining the relevant Covid 19 Certification, which was a requirement in applying protocols that would be essential in allowing games to proceed.
When our league was given the green light we commenced competitive football with league games being played on Saturday 3rd October 2020 nearly two months later than the normal season start date, however with twenty games played across all competitions the league was forced to close down due to restrictions being reapplied.
It was decided recently by Clubs in Membership that season 2020/2021, when restrictions are removed or relaxed and football can restart, a shortened version of the league season will be played. It is sincerely hoped that by leaving all options open, member clubs will still have meaningful competitive football to play.