Bo'ness United chairman Iain Muirhead reveals his blueprint for finishing Lowland League season
With Bo’ness United just six games shy of completing half of their games in this season’s Lowland League and thus preventing a ‘null and void’ campaign, chairman Iain Muirhead reckons that would be the best option for all teams if play returns this spring.
As we went to press on Thursday, the Scottish Government and Scottish FA had yet to authorise the return of minor football below SPFL League 2 and SWPL1, leaving clubs like Bo’ness in limbo over a potential return after the coronavirus sabbatical.
“Certainly I don’t believe we can play all the games at this late stage,” Muirhead – whose side are eighth with 18 points from 10 games – told the Journal and Gazette.
"We’re into March so even if they allowed us to start training next week you are not going to play a game until April before you get players up to the fitness levels required.
"I believe they (the authorities) want to finish at the end of May because of the Euros, so that (playing all the league games by then) is not going to be feasible.
"Null and voiding would obviously create problems in terms of promotion and relegation situations, not that we would probably be involved in that but you would be creating issues.
"The option we think is best would be reaching the threshold of playing half the league games which I think constitutes six games for us.
"It would allow us to start at a later stage, allow us to get six games in over the course of two or three weeks probably quite comfortably, two games a week or whatever it may be.”
League 1, League 2 and SWPL1 clubs were told this week by the authorities that they could only return to playing matches if rigorous Covid-19 testing protocols for players were in place.
A major concern for Bo’ness and clubs of a similar ilk is that they simply wouldn’t be able to afford testing if it remained a prerequisite for returning to play.
Muirhead said: “We received £33,000 (from the government) to get us back on track, to save the club at the end of the day.
"If it’s 50 quid a test and you’ve got to test your whole squad and your management team you’re talking 25 tests a week. When you’re paying players as well, just do the maths and you see it doesn’t stack up.”