The Camanachd Association (CA) took over the administration duties of all School competitions when the Schools Camanachd Association was no longer sustainable.
It is the objective of the CA to encourage participation in the sport but also to ensure that competitions are organised in a manner that is fair and equitable to all.
With regard to the MacKay and Tulloch competitions it should be noted that they are PRIMARY SCHOOL competitions. Open to all schools, they are designed to encourage shinty to be played in schools at all ages. The CA take the view that participation is more important than winning.
The responsibility for organising all school competitions fell to our Development Team under the governance of the CA Youth Development Committee. The committee is representative of the areas in which these competitions are being played with 3 from the south and 2 from the north. Over previous years some attempts were made to allow small schools, which, on their own, could not field a team to amalgamate with other schools. This was deemed to be acceptable and would have fulfilled the objective of allowing pupils in smaller schools to play shinty. However, in some areas, it had the opposite effect as schools amalgamated even when it was possible to field teams from some of the individual schools. This deprived children from being able to get a game and so the CA were faced with a problem. The solution which was agreed upon was to continue to allow schools to join together but in order to prevent what had happened previously and as described above, they imposed a rule which allowed schools with no more than 150 pupils to amalgamate. In previous years this total had been set at seventy.
This was highlighted to all schools when the entry forms were issued Sc Competition Entry Form 17 18 so that there would be no dubiety regarding amalgamation. Unfortunately, there was some communication failures between schools and clubs and a breach of the rule occurred. When faced with a situation where there has been a breach of a rule the CA has only one course of action it can take. That is to administer the sport in accordance with the rules laid down and to which all other competing teams were in compliance with.
This was regrettable and it was recognised that the children in the affected team would go without shinty in this competition so a compromise was offered whereby the team could continue to have games but could not progress to the final. This compromise would have meant that participation would have continued at least in some way. However, it was deemed not to be acceptable by the schools involved.
In conclusion, we at the CA, very much regret that this situation has come about.