Provisional timeline shows shinty season in sight

Fort’s Jack Fraser, tackles Celtic’s Ross MacMillan. PICTURE IAIN FERGUSON,

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Competitive shinty could return to a nearby pitch by June 5, according to the Camanachd Association’s most recent provincial roadmap.

Preparations for the season’s start intensified following  First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s announcements on Tuesday last week, with the association ready to support its clubs and volunteers ‘on every step of this exciting journey’.

One of the three key priorities is to restart the sport and the first step began last Friday, March 12, when adults and youths were be able to start ‘non-contact training’
providing that their Covid-19 readiness documentation had been verified by the Camanachd Association.

Oban Celtic coach Les Kinvig welcomed the news of the expected return to competitive sport.

‘Oban Celtic are delighted that a return to shinty is nearing,’ he said.

‘It has been a long and difficult period for our sport and all concerned with it. We are in support of a return, regardless of the format, as it is vital for clubs, players and the sport to have competitive shinty being played once again.

‘The association have been faced with a very difficult task in producing a roadmap for return due to the ever-changing rules and guidelines. With some firm dates now in place we have started planning the best way forward with the support of the Camanachd Association.

‘Oban Celtic will look to resume training in the coming weeks while adhering to the current rules. It is vital that all involved adhere to these rules in order for the sport to keep progressing towards the return of competitive shinty and for the safety of all concerned.’

The roadmap set out by the Camanachd Association is as follows.

• March 12 – Adults and youths can take part in outdoor, non-contact shinty and organised group exercise in groups of up to 15 people including coaches. Physical distancing is to be maintained.

• March 26 – CA target date for all clubs to work towards Covid readiness
documentation verification. Clubs cannot undertake any kind of activity without these
documents being verified by the Camanachd Association.

• April 26 – Contact shinty anticipated to resume as the country returns to a tiered system. Further details to be published mid-March by the Scottish Government.

• June 5 – Provisional start date for senior league and cup season to begin, further details and confirmation to be released by the competitions committee in due course.

No activity is permitted until a club has had their Covid readiness and risk assessment verified by the Camanachd Association. Additionally, as always, a club cannot train
unless all participants are registered members of the Camanachd Association for insurance purposes.

Derek Keir, Camanachd Association CEO, said: ‘Since the start of the year we have been working behind the scenes to make sure that we were in a position to restart shinty as soon as the conditions allowed.

‘Following the first minister’s welcome announcement last Tuesday we are delighted to put forward this roadmap for a return of shinty provided Scotland continues to progress in its fight against the virus.

‘We recognise that this is just the first step in a journey culminating on June 5 with that first competitive throw-up in 15 months, but we are excited by the positive response this news has already generated with our member clubs.’

Any club requiring support with their Covid readiness documentation or anything else to assist their return to shinty should get in touch with their regional development officer.