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  1. It's important to remember that all clubs beneath the Tier 5 Division won't have to be licenced so the cost of investing in facilities etc wouldn't be a deterrent. In the event that the NCL, North and Tayside Juniors joined up and Tier 6 was run on an the basis of these three geographically determined areas travel wouldn't be an issue either. Joining and not getting licenced would be just the same as it is now i.e. just playing NCL or Juniors from the North or Tayside. I guess the rules would be amended to comply with the Highland League Rules. Tier 6 may require facilities to match other Tier 6 leagues but, even then, time could be allowed for clubs to comply. Other clubs could fit into Tier 7. If clubs went for such a structure they could even become licenced without, in practice, being at significant risk of promotion to Tier 5. Regionalised Tier 6 and 7 etc leagues would be much as now so clubs could remain happy with their lot. One thing is likely if the NCL, North and Tayside Juniors do join in. Tier 5 in the Highland League will become more competitive and the geographical spread of the clubs will change.
  2. I like to speculate on what might/might not happen in the foreseeable future so, at present, I am thinking along the lines of what happens if the NCL becomes a Tier 5 league ahead of any such movement from the North and/or Tayside (East Region) Juniors. Will it spur ambition and investment in the NCL area amongst clubs which are currently outside the NCL or even don't currently exist at adult level? I say this as all clubs in the area would then know that the door is open and that it will stay open, so ambition and long term investment might become less unviable than it has been to date. Note to Inverness City Council to get off its' rear end and do more to encourage and to support local football. If the NCL becomes Tier 5 with effect from 2020/21 or 2021/22 will that cause current Juniors in the North/Tayside to get restless? Maybe just as has been seen in the East and West? Banks O' Dee (already licenced) and Dyce will be in the Aberdeenshire FA next season and have, or are close to having, the necessary facilities to go senior. Aberdeen University may see some benefits to being a senior club too - even if stopping short of a club licence? If these three went it could create a ripple effect with enough clubs also going to set off the rest?? If the door is opened, creating opportunity, then clubs will consider taking it as they will have reason to believe that this is for keeps i.e. worthwhile to, at least, consider what's involved to step up to senior status - and they won't need floodlights just to do that as becoming licenced is another level of investment altogether. It has happened in the East and West and may be starting in the NCL area (Loch Ness, Scourie). If the North Juniors stick with the JFA will the more westerly clubs consider that there could be some merits in switching to the NCL and becoming senior clubs with the chance, if desired, to take the licencing route in future, joining Under 20's Development league football, etc. (Is there any merit?) In the Tayside (East Region) there's scarcely any movement into this set-up from the Amateur ranks. When was the last time an amateur side moved into the Juniors here? Will there come a time when e.g. Scone Thistle might get cold feet and switch to the EoS? It's said that they're more Dundee oriented but if players decide to switch to nearby EoS clubs this could create a pressure which may be difficult to with-stand. The current leading East/Tayside clubs include most which could cope with a joint top division shared with the best of the North Juniors. Travel to Aberdeenshire isn't really a major issue these days for the strongest clubs. Would it be practical to create a North-East Senior League with only the top division covering the whole of the present North and East/Tayside Juniors areas i.e. the lower clubs playing in the same geographical areas as at present. Pushing up the best Tayside clubs could make it easier for current amateurs to plan for and to make the step up?
  3. Amazing things not just behind the scenes:
  4. Is there any news on the NCL formally becoming a Tier 6 league? If this happens will any more clubs/teams be likely to switch to the NCL from the North Juniors or the Summer Amateur leagues? I have mentioned this previously, so apologies, but being at Tier 6 it would give clubs a way to go for a SFA club licence etc. Would it make any sense for the likes of Nairn St Ninian, Dufftown, Burghead Thistle, Forres Thistle and Spey Valley United to consider switching in due course? Would the possibility of being able to get a licence and (mostly) reduced travelling be enough incentive for them?
  5. I sense that many people sympathise with the Tayside clubs and who knows what will happen in the next year or two. However, the pyramid is set up in a situation whereby the SPFL didn't want to have more than one league at Tier 5 but ended up with two leagues. Three leagues seems a long way off. The knock-on effect has been to fix a boundary between these two Tier 5 leagues and, looking at the whole country (which is what we need to keep in mind), and in order to provide some sort of balance in terms of club numbers and travel, Tayside is slotted in the Highland League region. Is that unreasonable? It isn't, in my view, because we need to remember that the Lowland area doesn't only cover Edinburgh and Glasgow. Stating the bleedin' obvious, I know, but it also covers Ayrshire and the South of Scotland league areas so the travelling to these areas is less easy and more mileage is involved. When you take that into consideration it does make more sense that, whilst there are two Tier 5 leagues, then the line has to be drawn somewhere and Dundee and Angus goes north. If Dundee and Angus clubs want to be able to reach Tier 5 and above it would make the Highland League stronger if they took that route. The more Dundee and Angus clubs in at Highland Tier 5 the less the number of long away trips - although there would be more for existing Highland clubs such as Brora, Wick, Clach etc. It would also help if Tayside came in as one of three Tier 6 leagues in the Highland League area, which would have the spin-off of providing opportunities for Tayside clubs to go for SFA membership/club licence/SFA cup entry etc etc.
  6. The incentive for Tayside and North Junior clubs is the SFA Licence but, to gain that, clubs have to be in a senior (i.e. Pyramid) league. Another incentive may be the Under 20's Development League concept which, in effect, is there for the Highland and Grampian/Aberdeenshire clubs via the North of Scotland and Aberdeenshire Under 20's leagues. Inverness Athletic and Dyce are, apparently, moving up to these next season. Dyce having gained membership of the Aberdeenshire FA but aren't senior as such. There needs to be the equivalent Under 20's created for Tayside/Angus - unless there is one already, don't know.
  7. Again from the English FA about their competitions etc : Saturday, 18th July 2020 Return of National League System – Update Dear Colleagues, We write with some important updates ahead of the 2020-21 National League System (NLS) season. As we have announced previously, The FA have been working on Scenario Planning, Club Guidance and Spectator Policy in order for the NLS to return. We are delighted that today’s announcement provide the foundation for a return to football. Key Dates for the 2020-21 Season Subject to further approval from DCMS and the SGSA for the safe return of spectators at National League System Grounds, we are in a position to provide the following key dates for the NLS. Start Dates: The following start dates are proposed for the commencement of the 2020-21 Season and conditional on Spectator Approval; Step 1 and 2: No earlier than Saturday, 5th September 2020 Step 3 and 4: Saturday, 19th September 2020 Step 5 and 6: From Saturday, 5th September 2020* *Discussions to take place with Step 5 and 6 Leagues to determine each Competition start date, noting The FA Cup EP Round will be held on Tuesday, 1st September2020. End Dates: The following end date has been approved by the Alliance and Leagues Committees and is fixed as with usual end dates for the NLS No later than Saturday, 15th May 2021 FA Competitions: We have always committed to do whatever possible to ensure all FA Competitions – and the accessibility of NLS Clubs in them –was a priority in our Scenario Planning. This was always conditional on when we were able to restart the NLS. September does allow for – in principle – the full inclusion of Clubs. Key dates are as follows: FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round: Tuesday, 1st September 2020 FA Cup Preliminary Round: Saturday, 12th September 2020 FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round: Tuesday, 22nd September 2020 FA Vase 1st Qualifying Round: Saturday, 19th September 2020 FA Vase 2nd Qualifying Round: Saturday, 10th October 2020 FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round: Saturday, 26th September 2020 FA Trophy 2nd Qualifying Round: Saturday, 17th October 2020 Club Guidance Documents Enclosed with this letter are the NLS Club Guidance documents and The FA Guidance on the safe return of competitive training and matches. Both guidance documents are required to be observed by all Clubs. Please distribute these to your Clubs. The FA Guidance is the framework approved by Public Health England enabling all competitive football to return, recommended to start with training and friendlies from August. The NLS Guidance provides Clubs additional guidance to enable NLS Leagues to commence. The NLS Guidance supplements The FA Guidance, which must be adhered to by all Clubs. We wish to highlight some key considerations for Clubs which you may wish to highlight in your communications. COVID-19 Officer: All Clubs will need to appoint a COVID-19 Officer from their Board or Trustees. This person will have responsibility to ensure that Club Risk Assessments are completed and actions undertaken. Risk Assessments: All Clubs will need to undertake a Risk Assessment on how they can implement appropriate measures to reduce the risk of transmission. This Risk Assessment is the tool to ensure Clubs consider all aspects of their Ground to be more secure. Clubs ground sharing must liaise with the host Club to create a Risk Assessment relevant to the standing of the Club the document is intended for. All Clubs must publish their Risk Assessment and/or their COVID-19 Action Plans on their Club Website by Saturday, August 15th and notify their League that this has been completed. Changing Rooms: Clubs must give particular attention to the management and operation of Changing Rooms to minimise their use or numbers within them at any one time. Spectators: We have a specific proposal lodged with DCMS, with oversight from the Sports Ground Safety Authority, on the return of Spectators at NLS Grounds. This is yet to be approved and as such, any pre-season fixture must be, until advised otherwise, planned to be behind closed doors. We are aware of the announcements by the Prime Minister on Friday, 17th June regarding the return of spectators to elite sport and have requested clarity on the impact of this on our proposal. We understand that Clubs are anxious to return, and many will have been working hard already to think of how their Club can reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. We would like to thank all Leagues and Clubs for their patience and support during this incredibly difficult period for everyone involved in the NLS. The developments announced today give a roadmap to return and the support and collective work of Clubs and Leagues to be ready for September – subject to any change in Government policy –will be key in achieving this ambition. Club Allocations Club allocations for Steps 3-7 will be released to Leagues w/c Monday 20th, July. If there are any queries in relation to the above, can they please be forwarded to [email protected] Laurence Jones Head of National League System
  8. Switching to the Re-Start topic again. The FA in England has been busy with re-start plans of all sorts which are copied below and in another following post. However the SFA will need to comply with the Edinburgh Government's requirements but some hope anyway : The FA issues guidelines for the return of outdoor competitive grassroots football Practical guidance for players, coaches, officials, volunteers, clubs, leagues, parents/carers and facilityproviders undertaking outdoor competitive grassroots football activity in England. The FA can confirm that the UK Government approved its plan for the return of outdoor grassroots football late last night, Friday 17 July 2020. As a result, the grassroots football community now hasthe opportunity to return to football and prepare for the start of the new season. The FA has been working hard over recent weeks to prepare guidelines for the safe return of grassroots football and, following Government approval, these cannow be published. Football activity can take place with necessary modifications in place to mitigate the transmission risk of COVID-19. The FA would strongly recommend a phased return to competitive football activity as follows: • Until 31 July – When ready, you can begincompetitive training, with the overall group size (inclusive of coaches) being limited to 30 people; • From August – Competitive matches to begin, for example pre-season fixtures, festivals and small sided football competitions; • From September – Grassroots leagues, men’s National League System, Women’s Football Pyramid tiers 3 to 6, and FA Competitions can commence. Clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents/carers, spectators and football facility providers should read The FA’s full guidelines, which are accessible below, in addition to the latest Government guidance on COVID-19. A return to competitive football should only happen once clubs and facility providers have completedthe necessary risk assessments and comprehensiveplans are in place. A summary of key points to consider from The FA’s guidelines are listed for ease below: • Everyone should self-assess for COVID-19 symptoms before every training session or match. If you are symptomatic or living in a household with possible or actual COVID-19 infection you must not participate or attend; • Clubs and facility providers should ensure that their facility is compliant with current Government legislation and guidance related to COVID-19; • Competitive training is now permitted, with groups limited to a maximum of 30 people, including coaches; • Competitive match play is permitted, with social distancing in place before and after the match, and in any breaks in play; • Players and officials should sanitise hands before and after a game as well as scheduled breaks throughout a game or training session; • Ball handling should be kept to a minimum with most contact via a boot and the ball disinfected in breaks of play; • Youth football coaches are encouraged to limit persistent close proximity of participants during match play and training; • Goal celebrations should be avoided; • Equipment should not be shared, and goalkeepers should ensure they disinfect their gloves regularly in breaks in training or matches and thoroughly afterwards. Where possible, coaches should only handle equipment in training; • Where possible, players, coaches and officials should arrive changed and shower at home. Use of changing and shower facilities must follow government advice on the use of indoor facilities; • Participants should follow best practice for travel including minimising use of public transport and walking or cycling if possible. People from a household or support bubble can travel together in a vehicle • Clubs should keep a record of attendees at a match or training session, including contact details, to support NHS Test and Trace; • Clubs should ensure they are affiliated with their County Football Association. Separate guidance [INSERT LINK] has been developed for clubs with teams competing in the men’s National League System (NLS) and the Women’s Football Pyramid tiers 3 to 6. This will support these Clubs on the safe return of paying spectators and also the applicability of the guidance to facilities under Ground Grading conditions, to ensure the safe return of competitive matches. Please note that at this stage, indoor football and futsal is not permitted. The FA will look to work with indoor facility providers to develop appropriate guidance for indoor formats as soon as possible. James Kendall, Director of Football Development at The FA, said: “We are delighted that the Government has given the go-ahead for competitive grassroots football to return. The past few months have been some of the most challenging times not just for football, but across society, and today’s news will be welcomed by the grassroots football community all over the country. “Now that we are able to look ahead to the new season, it’s crucial that we continue to do all we can to follow safety measures, both as advised by the government and specifically for football. “I would encourage anyone returning to competitive grassroots football to take the time to read this guidance, prepare thoroughly and to adopt our recommended approach to phasing football back in. I would also like to thank you for playing your vital part in helping our great game to get going again.” The full guidance document can be downloaded below, along with a short summary for all those involved in restarting activity.
  9. I added the under-lining to draw attention to a club with plans for the Under 20's Development League. However, only senior clubs can enter a team into the league so presumably Clyde rather than Clyde Community School - unless this is apart of the SPFL club. Anyone know?
  10. Youth Football Thread: Clyde FC Under 19’s Looking For Players. By Kp91, Saturday at 12:49 in Youth Football Clyde Fc u19s are on the look out to add quality players to there squad for the new season, this is potentially a pathway to the first team and possible training opportunities within the first team environment in time, the team has a new manager in place and a new coaching team all of whom have joined from Celtic Fc, this is an exciting opportunity and if anyone is interested or required more info then please contact club secretary Peter Kane on 07774327119 the club is planning to move into the u20 development league the season after this one so exciting times ahead for the club
  11. Youth Football Thread: Clyde FC Under 19’s Looking For Players. By Kp91, Saturday at 12:49 in Youth Football Clyde Fc u19s are on the look out to add quality players to there squad for the new season, this is potentially a pathway to the first team and possible training opportunities within the first team environment in time, the team has a new manager in place and a new coaching team all of whom have joined from Celtic Fc, this is an exciting opportunity and if anyone is interested or required more info then please contact club secretary Peter Kane on 07774327119 the club is planning to move into the u20 development league the season after this one so exciting times ahead for the club
  12. P&B Youth Football Thread: Clyde FC Under 19’s Looking For Players. By Kp91, Saturday at 12:49 in Youth Football Clyde Fc u19s are on the look out to add quality players to there squad for the new season, this is potentially a pathway to the first team and possible training opportunities within the first team environment in time, the team has a new manager in place and a new coaching team all of whom have joined from Celtic Fc, this is an exciting opportunity and if anyone is interested or required more info then please contact club secretary Peter Kane on 07774327119 the club is planning to move into the u20 development league the season after this one so exciting times ahead for the club
  13. Dyce Juniors joining the Aberdeenshire Under 20's next season.
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