The Highland League could stand to benefit if Scottish football receives government support.
Following the Scottish Government’s tightening of Covid-19 restrictions, football clubs are facing the reality of many more months before supporters can return to stadiums.
The government’s indicative date for fans returning was October 5, but that has now been pushed back indefinitely.
With the Championship, League One and League Two seasons set to kick off on October 17, having to play behind closed doors with the loss of revenue generated from fans coming through the turnstiles and matchday hospitality is a bitter blow for clubs.
As a result, the SFA and SPFL’s Joint Response Group (JRG) are hoping to secure a financial support package from the Scottish Government to help keep clubs afloat while playing without fans present.
The Highland League was initially scheduled to begin on the same date as the SPFL’s lower leagues but it has now been delayed until November 28 at the earliest.
If Scottish football was to receive financial support, there had been little hint that Highland League clubs may be included in the package.
However, the division’s secretary Rod Houston has said: “We’re working with the Joint Response Group to formulate data which can then be presented to the Scottish Government to show the impact of no football on club finances.”
Meanwhile, January would be the latest the Highland League could wait to start a league season, according to Finlay Noble.
Fraserburgh chairman Noble said there are contingencies in place should the November 28 date also prove unfeasible.
He said: “Some clubs felt it would be justifiable to stop now, but it was unanimous that we would pause it until the end of November.
“We don’t think we’ll be back again; we can go until the beginning of January to start a league season, but that would mean if we had any games off due to the weather we’d really be struggling to finish the league. You wouldn’t get any cups.
“My own club proposed that if come February-March time there’s sufficient relaxation of the rules, so we can get crowds in, we could play the League Cup, the Aberdeenshire Cup, the North of Scotland, so there’s some football before the start of next season.”
The Broch have reduced training to once a week and will look for friendlies to keep players sharp.
Noble added: “We spoke to them last night and everyone is happy with what we’ve proposed. They’re going to train once a week and play a friendly maybe once every two weeks, until such time as we’re told to stop I suppose.”