Inverurie Locos boss Andy Low believes the Highland League would be best served aiming to start the new season next year.
The beginning of the 2020-21 campaign has been pushed back from October 17 to November 28 with crowds being unable to return to grounds being one of the main factors in the decision.
As a result, the Railwaymen have opted to suspend all football activities this month.
Harlaw Park manager Low admits he finds it hard to see the situation around crowds returning changing sufficiently to allow the Highland League to kick-off at the end of November and reckons next year would be a more realistic target.
He said: “I feel the club have made the right decision, we’re now in a very difficult position.
“The Highland League has made the decision that they couldn’t make October 17, which I agree with.
“But I find the date of November 28 very strange and I think it puts clubs in a difficult position.
“Clubs have worked hard to get to this point with pre-season training and playing friendlies and the costs that go along with that and we’re now being asked to do that for another eight weeks.
“We’re in limbo and personally I don’t feel the date of November 28 will be met and it may have been better to err on the side of caution and aim for next year, so that the next date we have could be a guarantee.
“It feels like the can is being kicked down the road when we know what the end result will be, but it’s being delayed.
“It hurts when you’re working with guys at the club who are so passionate about their football and every single day we’ve made plans towards this and I don’t think that was taken into consideration.”
It’s not just restrictions around letting fans in that are causing Highland League clubs problems.
Clubs are currently unable to use changing facilities unless social distancing can be observed.
That means currently at Harlaw Park Locos are having to use the stand as a team area, with the terraced enclosure on the opposite side of the ground used as the away team’s area.
With these guidelines in place, Low says, even if supporters could return,Inverurie have calculated they would only be able to accommodate 134.
He added: “I want to be playing football and I want to be positive, but I just can’t see it changing.
“The big thing is the crowds. I think the Highland League and SFA agreed they wouldn’t start without the capability to get 300 fans into a ground.
“At Inverurie the committee have done some really good work, but for a ground in Harlaw Park with a capacity of 2500, with the current restrictions, we would only be able to let 134 people in.
“Even if the no crowds rule is lifted, with the restrictions on distancing and changing facilities, football at our level is still not going to be financially viable and it will be very difficult to start.
“When you get into the discussions with the people who know all the things we have to follow, it’s difficult to see how it will progress this year.”