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Homeless charity Shelter says Inverness Caley Thistle’s 135 mile Kelty training switch highlights Highland housing crisis

By Alasdair Fraser

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Caledonian Stadium.
Caledonian Stadium.

A leading homeless charity has described Caley Thistle’s decision to move their training base to Fife as a sad reflection of the state of housing in the Highlands.

Shelter Scotland was reacting after the relegated Inverness club blamed limited housing stock and the high cost of accommodation as factors in its player recruitment struggles.

The move has sparked huge controversy among supporters who fear a major part of the club is being ripped out of the community.

RELATED: Inverness Caley Thistle announce partnership with Kelty Hearts that will see club move first team training to Fife

But Caley Jags’ board believes it can save significant sums of expenditure by avoiding the need to fork out accommodation subsidies on top of players’ wages.

By moving training operations 135 miles south to Kelty Hearts’ New Central Park Home, it aims to tap into and compete within a significantly larger Central Belt player market.

RELATED: ‘I never believed the club would do it’ – Inverness Caley Thistle legends unconvinced by club’s decision

RELATED: Seething Caley Thistle fans react to news that first team training is relocating to Fife

With the Scottish Government recently declaring a national housing emergency, Shelter Scotland director Alison Watson said the controversy highlighted how particularly bad the situation was in Inverness and the Highlands.

Caledonian Stadium.
Caledonian Stadium.

She said: “This is yet another bleak example of the pervasive nature of the housing emergency, and the damage it is causing right across society.

“With the cost of housing in so many parts of Scotland vastly outstripping people’s ability to pay, the housing emergency is gutting communities.

“Decades of underinvestment in social housing is the root cause of our housing emergency, an emergency which is exacerbated in the Highlands by an overabundance of short-term lets and significant numbers of homes lying empty.

“Delivering more good quality social homes in the right places is the only way fix our broken housing system, providing genuinely affordable homes for those who need them, reducing competition in the private sector and bringing housing costs down for everyone.”

Caley Thistle will continue to use the Caledonian Stadium for home matches, but will organise overnight stays for players journeying to home games.

The Caley Thistle under 18s and youth teams will continue to train and play at the Highland Football Academy grounds in Inverness.

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