On Thursday 28th May the Camanachd Association board met to consider the implications of COVID 19 on the Shinty season.
The Directors of the Camanachd Association having examined in detail the latest guidance issued by the Scottish Government and following after discussions with sportscotland and an update from our International Team doctor, John Wallace we regret to have to advise that a decision was taken not to hold any of the planned cup completions this season.
If it is safe to do so it was also agreed that our League season in its current format is also to be cancelled and replaced with a localised competition to make use of any time that may become available later this year.
The focus will be on providing competitive opportunities and reducing travel for all when it is safe to do so.
This decision was not reached easily as we are all desperately keen to get back to playing Shinty but was borne out of the necessity to keep communities safe.
Examination of the latest Government guidelines dictates that only when we reach Phase 4 will there be a likelihood of lifting the restriction on social distancing and we are still working to understand what that means for playing contact sports such as shinty.
There is no definite dates for reaching this phase as it is subject to progression through the government route map.
The current situation simply does not allow the Camanachd Association to initiate any of the competitions and to have them completed by the end of the season.
It is therefore with regret that the Board Directors unanimously agreed that it was impossible to hold any of the usual competitions.
Camanachd Association President Keith Loades said:
“This decision was taken to provide clarity for clubs but also to highlight our commitment to the protection and wellbeing of our community.
“We can only deliver competition when it is safe to do so and in line with what our clubs and officials are comfortable engaging with at that time”
Competitions Director and Vice President Steven MacKenzie said:
“We prepared a range of options when the pandemic began however the measures outlined by the First Minister include the amendment of current daily exercise guidelines during Phase 1 (to include certain outdoor sport and activities) however this does not include contact sports such as shinty.
“A return to shinty this year clearly requires smooth progress through a number of the Scottish Government phases and should that occur we then have to consider the time available and reducing travel to and from different communities so soon after a global pandemic.
“We are hopeful that progress will continue to be made to overcome the virus and when it is safe to do so we hope to arrange local league competitions”
Camanachd Association Chief Executive Officer, Derek Keir said:
“We welcome the First Minister’s announcement that Scotland are now moving to Phase One of their route map to overcome the current pandemic however this remains a public health issue and the Camanachd Association are committed to supporting the Scottish Government as it looks to continue to slow the spread of the virus.
“The Camanachd Association will continue to work with Scottish Government and sportscotland going forward and communicate plans to our members in a timely fashion.
“I would like to extend a special thanks to Mowi for their incredible continued support during this difficult period and to all of our Competition Sponsors for their understanding and support in the cancellation of our cup competitions in 2020.”
The Board of the Camanachd Association paused for one minute at 8pm to thank, clap and pay tribute to the incredible commitment of all front line workers and all those (including a number of shinty clubs) that are supporting efforts in their communities.
The Camanachd Association would like to commend the important role shinty clubs continue to play during the pandemic to engage their members and support their communities.
It was also stressed that this will be key for a strong return to shinty when it is safe to do so.