Junior football clubs in the north deserve praise for their efforts in trying to get their season up and running.
Following the announcement by the Scottish Government on Tuesday contact sport between adults could not resume until May 17, the junior football authorities opted to bring a halt to the season themselves.
There is no known date yet when junior football might resume for those clubs, with a decision likely to be made closer to the summer over a potential resumption date.
Like all clubs attempting to resume play during the pandemic, junior clubs had to jump through hoops to get back to doing what they loved.
“The clubs did everything asked of them to get up to speed,” said Richard Easton, secretary of the north region juniors. “They jumped through every protocol hoop to get restarted and should be commended.
“When we got restarted, we were optimistic things were going to improve. The fact is they haven’t improved substantially for us to carry on playing.
“It did at least give guys a glimpse of normality that could have come.”
SJFA make season 2020-21 null and void https://t.co/gaBahEYSCh
— Banks O' Dee FC (@banksodeejfc) March 16, 2021
The north region had already opted to abandon its usual league format for the 2020-21 season, instead devising a regionalised League Cup competition.
A total of 30 teams were split into eight regional groups, which sought to minimise the travelling distances to fulfil fixtures.
Clubs were able to play games during November and December, however, the pausing of all football below the Championship in Scotland – which came in early January – ultimately meant the end of the season for junior sides in the north.
Banks o’ Dee were the last junior side to play a competitive fixture, losing 2-1 to Fraserburgh in the second round of the Scottish Cup on January 16.
In a statement on Tuesday night, the Scottish Junior FA reacted quickly to declare the season over and null and void all results.
Chief operating officer Alex McDowall said: “Following today’s update from the Scottish Government stating that adult contact training/football will not be allowed until May 17 2021, the management committee of the Scottish Junior FA have decided to end season 2020-2021 and declare all competitions null and void.
“We can now set our sights on moving forward and hopefully welcoming fans back at some point in the new season. This decision gives us all some clarity and the opportunity to look at starting next season a bit earlier than normal. Further details will be announced in due course.”