Shinty’s cup and league competitions cancelled for 2020

Shinty’s league and cup competitions for have been cancelled for 2020.

The Camanachd Association’s board met last Thursday to consider the implications of Covid- 19 – taking into account the latest guidance issued by the Scottish Government and following discussions with sportscotland and the sport’s International team doctor, John Wallace.

The game’s governing body said a localised competition could be held later in the year – should guidelines.

In a statement released last Friday the CA said the focus will be on providing competitive opportunities and reducing travel for all when it is safe to do so. 

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.

There is no definite dates for reaching this phase as it is subject to progression through the government route map.

The senior shiny season was just a week old, when the decision was made to halt play. Last week’s board decision confirms that this year will be the first since the second world war that the Camanachd Cup has not been contested.

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 last Thursday 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.