Football cash boost welcomed by Red Star

A reminder of the pre-pandemic days when competitive football was permitted - but hopefully some games will be played this season.

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Lochgilphead Red Star football club has welcomed a government cash injection to the amateur game as lockdown continues.

This, along with the support of players, should help see the club financially through the pandemic, ready for the return of competitive action.

The Scottish Government has given a grant of £100,000 to the Scottish Football Association, aimed at protecting the game at all levels and helping clubs survive these unprecedented times.

With grassroots clubs across Scotland negatively impacted by the pandemic, both in terms of finance and restrictions on recreational football, the Scottish Amateur Football Association (SAFA) will be handed the money to pass on to member clubs.

Amid all the Covid-19 uncertainty, the association remains confident football will return during the current 2020/21 season and for the 2021 summer season.

SAFA president Stuart Urquhart said: ‘We all hope the virus situation will improve quickly in the weeks ahead to allow amateur football to return in all parts of the country.’

Last week the Scottish FA held extensive consultations with representatives of leagues and clubs affected by a temporary suspension announced on Monday January 11.

This has been beneficial in understanding the specific challenges faced by clubs, in particular getting to grips with what is needed to allow play to re-start when it is safe to do so.

With current lockdown measures to remain in place across Scotland until the end of February, the existing temporary suspension has been extended until midnight on Sunday February 14. This affects all amateur leagues and leagues with predominantly part-time clubs, although a number of full-time clubs have been affected.

A further update will be communicated to the clubs by Wednesday February 10.

Colin Weir of Lochgilphead Red Star attended an online meeting with the Scottish Amateur Football League (SAFL) earlier this week, and revealed that rather than trying to divide the government grant between member clubs, the SAFA plans instead to waive club membership fees for next season.

‘In terms of Red Star, we’ve been fortunate that our players have continued to pay their monthly fees throughout the pandemic, which should hopefully mean that financially we are in a healthy enough position once football resumes,’ he added.

Colin remains hopeful that the club might compete in the Centenary Cup, if and when restrictions allow, adding: ‘I would be hopeful, however, that if we return to the tier structure as it was pre-Christmas we would be able to at least play some friendlies against our fellow Argyll sides.’

By then the players should be resplendent in shiny new strips, as the club awaits delivery of new kit courtesy of sponsor RJD Brickwork.