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Target date revealed for summer football to restart in Sutherland

By Will Clark

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SUMMER football is set to kick off in Sutherland as organisers have announced plans for the 2021 season to take place.

League could restart on July 3.
League could restart on July 3.

The North-West Sutherland Amateur Football Association are planning regionalised divisions for this campaign with a start date of July 3.

Organisers are planning four divisions of three teams, with semi finals and final to ensure football can be played. The 2020 season did not go ahead due to the impact of Covid-19 resulting in all amateur football being scrapped across the north.

Durness based NWSAFA secretary Hugh Morrison says no plans have been finalised but they are determined competition returns this summer.

“We are targeting to start in the first Saturday of July,” confirmed Morrison.

“We will look to run in July, August and maybe into September if we have to.

“Clubs have been consulted if we will run mini leagues in geographical terms.

“There are 12 teams in the league, there is a plan to play four mini leagues with semi finals and final.

“The closest teams such as Lochbroom, Lochinver and Kinlochbervie as well as Melvich, Helmsdale, Brora along with Golspie, Lairg and Dornoch as well as the Easter Ross teams of Inver, Invergordon and Tain Thistle.

“Or we can play the leagues in their original format. But we are definitely aiming to start in July with a season spread over eight or nine weeks finishing in August or September.”

Morrison says with the cancellation of the season in 2020, league officials and clubs are determined to bring summer football back in some form.

“It is about getting the appetite back for summer football,” he said.

“It is important that we try and do something.

“We all have to stay safe, but from a football point we have to do something.

“That is the plan, but nothing has been finalised at present.”

The North Caledonian League will restart their campaign on Saturday, May 22 with Scourie taking on Loch Ness at Achlochan Park. With Bonar Bridge and Golspie Sutherland also having a number of games to play to complete their season, organisers have decided to delay starting the summer league until the NCL is finished on June 26.

“There may have been issues with players from North Caledonian League teams being available for summer clubs, “ said Morrison.

“That is the reason we have decided to aim for a start date in July.

“We wanted to make sure both competitions don’t overlap.

“Nothing is finalised and we are still waiting for clubs to say they are happy to go along with our plans.”

n It has been confirmed the Highland Amateur Cup will not return in 2021.

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