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Thistle Girls footballers in Inverness ban handshakes amid coronavirus fears

By Alasdair Fraser

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Thistle Girls after winning the league title play-off against Invergordon.
Thistle Girls after winning the league title play-off against Invergordon.

AN Inverness girls’ football team has banned handshakes as fears heighten over the coronavirus outbreak.

Trophy-winning Thistle Girls FC, who play at Millburn Academy, have ordered all players, coaches and officials to refrain from the traditional practice during training and matches.

The instruction follows guidance issued by the womens’ game’s governing body Scottish Women’s Football (SWF).

Head coach Lee Murray said: “We have spoken to the relative authorities who in turn have sought advice from the World Health Organisation.

“With immediate effect and until further notice, there will be no handshakes before, during or after any games or tournaments.

“This is for all players, coaches and officials. Apart from that we continue as normal and we ask that everyone carries out the basic advice that has been given, such as washing hands for 20 seconds.

“We appreciate it is a concern and people will worry, but until we are told not to train or play, the club will continue as normal.”

An SWF spokesperson said: “After receiving communication from the Scottish FA and SPFL, Scottish Women’s Football (SWF) will be (suspending) the traditional practice of shaking hands between opponents and match officials, prior to and following matches.

“SWF will continue to monitor updates from the joint response group in order to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus on our game.”

Thistle Girls, with more than 70 players aged from five to 15, won the inaugural Highlands and Islands Rachel McLaughlin League last year.

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