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Sharp concerned isolation period could force Nairn County to pull out of Highland League if Clachnacuddin opener is postponed


By Alasdair Fraser

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Ronnie Sharp is concerned Nairn County might be forced to withdraw from this season’s Highland League campaign if Covid-19 cases disrupt players’ day jobs.

The Station Park manager was speaking ahead of an official confirmation on whether tomorrow’s eagerly-anticipated derby match against Clach would go ahead as an opener to the new, shortened season.

Nairn’s entire squad was told to self-isolate earlier in the week and it was unclear as the Courier went to press if there would be a reprieve.

The move followed a positive Covid-19 test for a person associated with the club.

The status of Nairn County's home match against Clachnacuddin tomorrow is still unclear, and it could have a knock-on effect on Nairn's season. Picture: Callum Mackay
The status of Nairn County's home match against Clachnacuddin tomorrow is still unclear, and it could have a knock-on effect on Nairn's season. Picture: Callum Mackay

Other clubs in Scotland have avoided having their entire playing squad sent into self-isolation after positive tests. Nairn, supported by the Highland League, were in talks yesterday with the SFA and Scottish Government with a view to resolving the matter in time for the match to go ahead.

Sharp, who detailed how Nairn had carefully followed all of the SFA’s safety protocols, found himself in the unenviable position of dealing with players unhappy at having to tell their main employer they were unable to attend work.

“All of the squad have been told they have to self-isolate for 14 days,” the Wee County boss said.

“Our problem with that is we’ve adhered to all the SFA protocols for training and what we have to do at the club. Those protocols say, once you’re on the training pitch, you’re allowed contact. Despite that, after the positive case, the players were told to self-isolate for 14 days and they’re all off work.

“The problem we have is, if this is going to happen all the time, then I don’t see how we can continue to play in the league. We can’t put boys’ jobs at risk. I’ve spoken to quite a few of the squad and their bosses are not happy.

“We have boys off work in the run-up to Christmas, now on sick pay. We have to look at it as one where, if it isn’t sorted out, can we continue?”

Nairn’s sense of frustration was heightened by the knowledge that other squads in the Scottish senior game had not been sent into full self-isolation after individual positive tests.

There was still hope yesterday that a resolution would be found in talks between the club, league and various authorities.

Given the sensitive nature of discussions, HFL secretary Rod Houston was reluctant to comment beyond confirming that talks were ongoing yesterday.


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