Argyll sport decimated amid coronavirus response

The Scottish Football Association has decided to suspend all matches.

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The coronavirus response has forced the cancellation of sporting events up and down the region.

Just when the situation will settle down enough to allow sport to re-start is anyone’s guess at this stage, but early casualties have included shinty, football, athletics and a planned youth football trip to Europe.

Argyll indoor athletics final cancelled

The committee of Mid Argyll Athletic Club took the difficult decision to postpone the Argyll final of Sports Hall Athletics which was due to take place at Atlantis Leisure in Oban this Sunday, March 22.

With more than 150 young boys and girls qualifying for the final from the four local area competitions and the possibility of another 200-plus family member spectators filling the games hall the organisers felt it was sensible to postpone the event.

A statement from the organisers said: ‘After consultation with the management staff at Atlantis Leisure it was decided it was best to follow the guidance that is currently being issued by the Scottish Government and others to attempt to restrict the spread of the coronavirus.

‘We will revisit a date for holding the competition once the coronavirus situation is clear and if necessary this may be have to be after the summer school holidays. The boys and girls who qualified from the local area competitions in Lochgilphead, Oban, Tobermory and Campbeltown will be advised of the new Argyll final date and times through their local club or school.

‘We apologise for any inconvenience and disappointment this postponement may cause to the young athletes and their families.’

Plug pulled on Puffer

The annual Crinan Puffer – an 8.3-mile race between Crinan and Ardrishaig – has also been postponed.

A fundraiser for Mid Argyll Community Pool organised with the help of Mid Argyll Athletic Club, the run was due to be held on Sunday March 22.

Announcing the postponement, Kirsty Young of Mid Argyll Community Pool said: ‘In light of current government guidelines to avoid non-essential contact and unnecessary travel we feel that this is the right decision to make.

‘I will be contacting all stakeholders involved with the organisation and running of the event in the coming days to try and come up with a date to re-schedule the event.’

No trip for young footballers

Months of work to raise money for a trip to Holland in April for young Mid Argyll footballers has come to nothing, thanks to coronavirus.

Lochgilphead Red Star 2008 players, coaches, parents and supporters were left disappointed when the Amsterdam tournament was cancelled.

A committee spokesperson said: ‘The team are devastated not to be going after nine months of fundraising for the event. We are lucky enough to be getting a full refund from the organisers and at present are awaiting to see if the same will happen regarding the flights.

‘We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone from the public to businesses who have supported us throughout our fundraising, from attending coffee mornings, donating at bag packs and online donations and our hypnotist night. Your generosity has been overwhelming .

‘We plan to let the kids of the team decide which charities they would like to donate the funds to once we receive the refund.’

Shinty season curtailed

After just one week of the 2020 season, shinty’s governing body, the Camanachd Association, made the decision on Friday March 13 to postpone all matches until further notice.

The association also recommended that this should include all training, festivals and other events.

In a statement, the Camanachd Association said: ‘In light of the government restrictions on public gatherings and the resulting pressure on emergency services and healthcare provision, the Camanachd Association has postponed all fixtures under our auspices whilst a further assessment can be made and to reduce any additional pressure our activities may have otherwise had on emergency services.

‘The wellbeing of the people in our communities is primary in this decision and we hope that this decision removes any expectations or pressures on participating during a time that we can be focused on doing all we can to suppress the spread of the virus.’

The recommendation is that shinty clubs should hold any meetings using remote technology such as Skype.

The association statement concluded: ‘We will endeavour to provide due notice to clubs ahead of any future shinty matches so as there is time to restart training.’

Football called off

The Scottish Football Association also decided to suspend all matches in the interests of public health for the and health and safety of players, match officials and staff across the game.

Ian Maxwell, SFA chief executive, said: ‘This is of paramount importance as the country enters the ‘delay’ phase of the coronavirus pandemic.
‘It is why the Scottish FA is compelled to ensure that the suspension is cascaded through the non-professional and grassroots games until further notice.

‘The decision to suspend or continue training is at each club’s discretion at this time, however clubs must ensure to follow the current medical guidance issued by the government and the health authorities when making this decision.

Rugby on hold

Scottish Rugby decided that with effect from Sunday 15 March at 6pm there would be a short period without domestic competition or training up to March 29.

This includes rugby in all domestic league and cup fixtures, training, festivals and other rugby events as well as the FOSROC Super6 tournament, which come under Scottish Rugby’s jurisdiction.

The Scottish Rugby age grade programme (male and female) has been cancelled with immediate effect for the remainder of the season.

A Scottish Rugby Spokesperson said: ‘We have taken on board all expert medical advice before now and we are taking a precautionary approach to give time to assess what the impact of coronavirus will be on Scottish society in the coming weeks before deciding on next steps.’