Fife Flyers: Shortened 2020-21 season 'not for us' after EIHL meeting

Fife Flyers fans won’t see their team play in the New Year even if the Elite League forges ahead with plans for a condensed season.

Thursday, 3rd December 2020, 7:14 pm
Fife Flyers team bench (Pic: Steve Gunn)
Fife Flyers team bench (Pic: Steve Gunn)

A limited 12-week 2020-21 campaign could get underway late January or February - but only with half of the ten teams involved.

The move comes after the UK-wide league secured £4m in emergency funding from the Government, but it came via Sport England so only applied to the five teams south of the border.

And it came with the caveat that the league must resume before the money is released.

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Tuesday saw all ten clubs participate in a Zoom call to look at what a condensed campaign may be - but for Flyers, it’s not a step they are planning to take.

The club believes it is better to wait until September and reunite fans for a full 2021-22 season.

Jack Wishart, director, who took part in the online call, said a condensed season wasn’t on their radar.

“It doesn’t appeal to us,” he said. “We know fans want to see games and can’t wait to get back to the rink, and we feel for them - but the timescales for this are too quick.

“To bring players in for just 12 weeks, find sponsors, cars and accommodation - we’d rather hold fire and stick with the September return which everyone was planning until the money appeared.”

Mr Wishart said there was still uncertainty whether the £4m was a loan or a grant - but either way, Flyers didn’t benefit as a club.

They have been working with Glasgow Clan and Dundee Stars and are in regular dialogue with Sport Scotland to try to secure a similar commitment from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to help teams north of the border..

The league is considering creating COVID secure bubbles with players isolated in hotels close to their rinks, with no fans at games which will be streamed live online.

There is talk of possible play-offs and a finals weekend in Nottingham which some supporters may be able to attend - but only if the pandemic is fully under control, and such gatherings are sanctioned by the Government.

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