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Bunillidh Thistle withdraw from North Caledonian League over impact of coronavirus restrictions

By Will Clark

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North Caledonian League outfit Bunillidh Thistle have withdrawn from all football competitions due to the impact of restrictions due to coronavirus.

Bunillidh Thistle
Bunillidh Thistle

The Helmsdale outfit declared tonight they will not take part in any league or cup competitions during the 2020/21 campaign.

Bunillidh have made the decision 10 days before the North Caledonian League is due to begin.

The club released a statement explaining their decision to protect the safety of their players and community.

It said: "This decision was taken due to various reasons including no showers or changing room use being permitted.

"Travelling cold, wet and dirty following a match in the autumn/winter months across the north of Scotland is not health beneficial nor enjoyable for players.

Having to self-isolate following a team-mate or opponent testing positive for covid-19.

"Travelling to areas where there are positive cases of covid increases the risk of it spreading.

"Many players are self-employed with young families and cannot financially take time off work or risk putting members of their family and our small Highland community at unnecessary risk.

"We felt the safety of our players, players families and our local community had priority as well as player welfare on match days."

The statement also claimed it received an ultimatum from competition organisers to play or fold after asking for the start of the season to be delayed.

It said: "The club sought a delay to the start of competitive fixtures, similar to that of senior Scottish clubs including Highland and Lowland leagues.

"But this delayed start request fell on deaf ears where the club received an ultimatum of either playing or folding for the upcoming season.

"The club does not feel this is encouraging of promoting football in small highland communities and as it is an amateur league there is no financial incentive for the league to start as soon as it is planning.

"It is an unfortunate situation to find ourselves in but as a club we would like to wish all clubs competing the best of luck."

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