The Highland League hopes to work with the Scottish Government to ensure Aberdeenshire clubs will be able to let supporters in when the new season starts later this month.
At a meeting of the division’s league management committee last night the decision was taken to start the 2020-21 campaign on November 28.
The reason for doing so was because 11 of the league’s 17 clubs will be able to let fans in. With the Highlands and Moray being placed in Tier 1 of the Scottish Government’s coronavirus restriction system Brora Rangers, Buckie Thistle, Clachnacuddin, Forres Mechanics, Fort William, Keith, Lossiemouth, Nairn County, Rothes, Strathspey Thistle and Wick Academy would be allowed to let a restricted number of fans into games.
However, with Aberdeenshire being in Tier 2 Deveronvale, Formartine United, Fraserburgh, Huntly, Inverurie Locos and Turriff United would not be allowed to admit supporters under the current regulations.
But league secretary Rod Houston is hopeful an agreement can be reached to allow all clubs to start the season in front of fans.
He said: “The reason behind the decision is that we can get spectators into matches, although we still have the anomaly with Aberdeenshire being in Tier 2.
“We are working on sorting that out to try to enable Aberdeenshire clubs to have spectators at their matches.
“The decision is not without some trepidation because of the circumstances we’re in. But the feeling was it was time to make a start or we might struggle to start at all and there’s not really an appetite for that.
“We’re working very hard to work with the Scottish Government to see if we can come up with an agreed solution to the problem. The ideal solution would be that Aberdeenshire was regraded into Tier 1 next week when the Scottish Government reviews things.
“But we simply have to wait and see and deal with things the best way we can to help these clubs take part.”
The season was originally scheduled to start on October 17, but the decision was taken to pause until November 28 when a rise in Covid-19 infections and tightening of restrictions meant fans could not return to stadiums.