Elgin City set to return to Betfred Cup and League 2 action in October
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EMERGENCY funding and a helping hand from Ross County could help Elgin City on the road back to competitive football.
Borough Briggs chairman Graham Tatters hopes his club will return to playing with a Betfred Cup match in October, ending a seven-month spell without action on the park.
The Black and Whites are also set to play a shortened 27-game League Two campaign, playing all rival clubs three times beginning at the end of October.
Tatters believes the SPFL’s plan for getting back to football is achievable, but highlighted the costly process of coronavirus testing which will begin once contact training is resumed.
He said at present it costs £50 per test, which needs to be performed twice a week.
However, Elgin will receive their £50,000 share of James Anderson’s Covid-19 crisis fund (see page 31) and tatters revealed how Premiership neighbours Ross County have also offered assistance.
“Testing is a major concern, not just the affordability but the accessibility which will take a lot of organising,” he said.
“The James Anderson donation to all clubs will help with the costs but how we sort all the players to gain access to a test machine will take some arranging.
“That dilemma may be alleviated slightly if the testing is reduced to once per week or even stopped.
“Moreover, the most generous offer from Roy McGregor at Ross County to share their machine will also help.”
The Elgin chairman explained how the October start for lower league clubs was discussed at an SPFL meeting on Monday.
“It looks as though the Betfred Cup will commence early October and then a shortened league programme of 27 games starting late October.
“The club will make every effort to enter that programme which should be achievable if the control of the virus continues to improve.”
It’s likely that matches will be played behind closed doors during the early weeks of the lower league season.
Premiership sides remain on course to begin their term on August 1 with no fans allowed, but matches being streamed live as part of a virtual season ticket system.
Some lower league sides are exploring the possibility of screening their matches to supporters at home.
“I have no update as to when we can expect fans to be allowed into the ground,” said Tatters.
“I am sure you are all aware that will be a decision for central government and while there remains any risk to the population it will not happen.
“However, we should be upbeat with the introduction in England of one-metre social distancing, the opening of pubs, theatres, cinemas, libraries, museums, theme parks and zoos all of which will mean crowds gathering in areas smaller than football stadiums.”
There has been some success for Elgin in their fundraising efforts during the shutdown period, Tatters added.
A Justgiving page set up to accept supporters’ donations has raised nearly £9000, with added revenue from a Buy a Brick scheme allowing fans to have their name, or the name of a loved one placed on a display wall within Borough Briggs.
Pre-sales of City’s new Joma first team kit are also going well, as is the revuvenated City Saver club lottery scheme.
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