Amateur League President Explains Decision To Delay Start Of Season

Scottish Amateur Football News Exclusive

Amateur League President Explains Decision To Delay Start Of Season Scottish Amateur Football League President Margaret McMillan had revealed the shock decision made by Executive Committee Members to delay the start of the season until January 9, 2021, was reached having taken on board all the current restrictions imposed by the Scottish Government.

The Centenary Cup, which had been drawn in Groups to encourage local derbies and considerably cut down on travelling, would have been the focal point for 27 participating member clubs including newcomers Arthurlie AFC and Baljaffray AFC.

Clubs throughout many areas of Scotland are unable to train or play games, and the stop-start-stop messages being delivered without scientific evidence it would appear suggests in my opinion that Scottish Amateur Football has been “thrown under the bus.”

As a result, Leagues are being left to pick up the pieces. Margaret told me: “We agonise over every decision we make, and to be honest I did not look forward to informing clubs what is happening, but I think we were right leaving it until January.”

“One club had already indicated under the present circumstances they didn’t want to play. Maybe they jumped the gun a bit, but some of our referees said the same, and that is understandable.”

“Clubs have told us their players are asking “When can we train When can we play?” It is hard trying to keep the players interested. I think they need something to focus on. It’s ever-changing. We need to give teams some clarity and that has not been forthcoming from the SFA. It’s frustrating!”

“Why is it so different for ex-junior clubs (now West of Scotland League) to play and not us? One game recently was switched onto a public park, which our clubs would use. That was a kick in the teeth for us.”

“If we do get back in January you can’t expect teams to go straight into competitive games. We must allow them time to organise friendlies”

Absolutely! Obviously at the moment we can’t say how long they would have on that.

“What I can tell you is we will have another Zoom Meeting with the clubs next month for a further discussion.”

Meanwhile, chairing one of the most established leagues in Scotland has been met with the same commitment shown as Discipline Secretary – a role occupied for six years, and I posed the question “Has there previously been a female President at the top-table in any Amateur League in Scotland?”.I should also add Margaret’s husband, Raymond, is Secretary of the Scottish Amateur Football League!”

Margaret laughed and replied: “Robert Bowman (Minute Secretary) said he heard there may have been one up North, but we never had confirmation on that.”

” I am still the Discipline Secretary. Doing both! I do enjoy it. We have some great clubs and a great bunch of guys.”

Barrhead ‘Lie Handed Two Centenary Derbies

Newcomers Arthurlie Amateurs could debut in the SAFL Centenary Cup next month with local derbies if current Scottish Government restrictions are not increased.

Top-table chiefs have wisely opted to cut down on excessive match travel for clubs in membership of the Scottish Amateur Football League and a look at the opening two weeks’ fixture list shows great potential.

November 7th

Arthurlie v Carlton YMCA
Baljaffray v Easthall Star
Busby v Motherwell Thistle
Campbeltown Pupils v Lochgilphead Red Star
Cardross v Dunoon
Duncanrig v Strathaven
Glyhill Moorcroft v St Convals
Inverclyde v Parkhall
Kings Park Rangers v Hillington
Neilston v Glenburn
Port Glasgow v Port Glasgow OBU
Rutherglen v Claremont

November 17th

Arthurlie v St Convals
Baljaffray v Kings Park Rangers
Busby v Rutherglen
Duncanrig v Claremont
Glenburn v Carlton YMCA
Glyhill Moorcroft v Neilston
Goldenhill v Easthall Star
Hillingdon v Castlemilk
Inverclyde v Port Glasgow
Lochgilphead Red Star v Campbeltown Pupils
Motherwell Thistle v Strathaven
Parkhall v Cardross
Port Glasgow OBU v Dunoon

SAFL Chiefs Will Operate New Travel Measures For Centenary Cup

Scottish Amateur Football League chiefs are helping member clubs cut down on unwanted travel problems when the Centenary Cup kicks-off their new season on October 10.

Hopefully current Scottish Government restrictions will not have changed again and allow Team Managers to prepare their squads in five areas instead of clubs travelling all over Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

I understand the plan involves teams playing each other home and away in the opening round and, even allowing for bad weather, the fixture list would run into December.

Looking ahead into January and depending on the updated Covid-19 situation the three-divisional domestic structure would commence, and hopefully the hugely popular Jimmy Marshall Trophy can also take place. Arthurlie and Baljaffray Amateurs  are newcomers to the SAFL, and as luck would have it, the pair have home games in the First Round fixture list on October 10.

The Barrhead club host Carlton YMCA, while Baljaffray, also from Premier Division Two, welcome high-flying and hugely experienced visitors Easthall Star.

In the Argyle area, two local derbies catch the eye. Campbeltown Pupils v Lochgilphead Red Star and Cardross v Dunoon.

Port Glasgow Amateurs and Port Glasgow OBU will be eager to claim Inverclyde bragging rights for at least 24 hours. while closer to Glasgow I reckon there will be a few goals when Kings Park Rangers entertain Hillington in a top-flight Premier clash.