Highland League secretary Rod Houston says season is 'on pause' for a reason and can be delayed beyond November 28 if required
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THE Highland League season could begin after the new scheduled kick-off date of November 28, says league secretary Rod Houston.
Clubs agreed at a league management committee meeting on Monday to pause the forthcoming campaign, which was due to start on October 17, until the end of the following month.
But if fans are still not allowed back into football grounds by that new date, Houston said there is scope for a further delay to try and get the season played.
“We’ve used the word ‘paused’ deliberately,” he said. “That’s the next date where we would hope to get hostilities under way so as to speak.
“We will take stock of it a couple of weeks in advance of that date. If that doesn’t work we will have a look at what the likely situation is.
“At the moment, the way the pandemic is, six weeks is an awful long time, and the clubs have given themselves that time to allow patterns to emerge until we see what’s possible, not least getting spectators back.”
Houston pointed out the scale of the coronavirus crisis when he said that Highland League football had only been halted twice before in its 127-year history – by war.
“That is very, very significant in terms of the history of the league.
“It was formed in 1893 and the only other times where its activities were suspended were during the first world war and the second world war. That is how serious this public health situation is.”
And he warned that the pandemic isn’t going to go away any time soon, so when fans are allowed back into grounds, restrictionwill still be in place for some time.”
“We actually think that whenever we get back to football, sooner or later, or very later, we will still have to take into account the existence of this disease,” he added.
“Graeme Wilson (assistant league secretary) and I will now continue our process of monitoring the media, government websites and everywhere just to make sure that we can provide clubs with the most accurate information on which to make decisions at the next stage.
“It’s been worked on for the last month at least and that work will continue just to get things done.”