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'Unfair' pandemic guidelines preventing Inverness Caledonian Thistle Women from playing football


By Andrew Henderson

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Inverness Caledonian Thistle Women manager Karen Mason believes women’s football is being unfairly left out of the action right now.

Under current guidelines, Scottish Women’s Premier League matches can still go ahead, but the third tier – affecting clubs in the Championship North and South – is being forced to sit on the sidelines.

That means Caley Thistle Women have been unable to play matches all month, with this Sunday’s game against Dundee West the latest to be postponed.

Caley Thistle's Jodie Malcolm making a tackle against St Mirren. Picture: James MacKenzie
Caley Thistle's Jodie Malcolm making a tackle against St Mirren. Picture: James MacKenzie

Mason compares the predicament to the men’s game, where fifth tier clubs in the Highland League are gearing up for the opening weekend of their season tomorrow and even lower leagues have already started, and sees an inconsistency from the powers that be.

“SWF put forward to the joint-response group that the performance arm – SWPL One and Two, and ourselves in the Championship North and South – should all be exempt from the restrictions,” Mason explained.

“Instead, it was only the SWPL One and Two that are exempt.

“The men are playing all the way down to the pyramid’s seventh tier, but we aren’t and we’re only in the third tier in women’s football.

“A little bit of discrimination is sneaking in I think. I don’t see what the difference is between us and any of the other leagues that are carrying on.

“Not all leagues are getting tested, or doing everything that the professionals are doing, so it seems unfair at the moment.”

For the time being, seeing matches fall by the wayside only raises doubts over whether the season will be completed at all.

“Because the slip dates are still there and being used, it’s on schedule at the moment, but there is that worry,” Mason admitted.

“So many games have been missed already, but we have to remain positive and hope that things will improve.

“Nobody predicted how this was going to go with the tier system. They planned and hoped for the best, but that hasn’t panned out.”


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