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It now looks certain Fort William FC will be playing its football next season in the North Caledonian League after it was unable to risk a large bill if its appeal against relegation failed.
At the arbitration meeting at the start of last week, involving representatives from the Claggan Park club as well as the Highland League and Scottish Football Association, the Lochaber outfit says there was a request for it to deposit £30,000 in a holding account within 48 hours to cover any costs of the appeal if the club was to lose.
Fort William felt this was a gamble they could not take, posting on its Facebook page: ‘The club could not meet this demand and was not allowed to have its case heard.’
Asked what the development meant for the fight against being relegated from the Highland League, the club told the Lochaber Times: ‘We have to go down as we can’t afford to take on the league.’
The news comes less than two weeks after the club unveiled new manager Chris Baffour.
Asked by the Lochaber Times about the challenge against relegation, Baffour said he hoped the club would remain in the competition, but if Fort William were to be relegated the immediate priority would be gaining promotion as soon as possible.
Fort William Football Club’s Claggan Park ground. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos
IF F16 Fort FC 01
New Fort William FC manager Chris Baffour shows off the club’s new home kit for next season during a recent visit to Claggan Park.
Photograph: Abrightside Photography. NO F25 Chris Baffour 03