THIS WEEKEND will see the first ever soccer tournament between Orkney and Shetland girls in a match that organizers hope will become an annual event.
Shetland Girls Football secretary Adam Priest said a minute’s silence will be observed before each match to mark the Queen’s passing, following guidance from the national football associations.
The girls will play for one of three teams, under 13, under 15 and under 17, in the two-day event, in the style of long-standing inter-county sports competitions between the two regions, which are staged alternately in Orkney and Shetland.
Around 40 youngsters are expected to travel from Shetland to Orkney to take part in the matches, which take place on Saturday and Sunday at Kirkwall’s Pickaquoy ground.
Scottish Sea Farms, which operates in Orkney and Shetland, as well as on the Scottish mainland, is helping to finance the inaugural Orkney vs Shetland Girls Challenge Cup.
The funding, £5,000 in total, will help cover costs, including travel and accommodation for Shetland players.
Priest said: “We try to select girls from all the islands and give everyone an equal opportunity, if they have the ability, to take part in this journey. Traveling from Shetland is expensive so sponsorship is key.
“The support we have received from Scottish Sea Farms has been instrumental in giving the girls the opportunity to compete on equal terms with their peers from other areas of Scotland.”
She added that the entire women’s football team in Shetland is “saddened” by the death of Queen Elizabeth on Thursday.
“Taking stock of the current guidance, we are still boarding the ship tonight to play the first girls’ game in Orkney since 2019,” Priest said.
“Our hosts Orkney have said that we will observe a minute’s silence before each match.
“It is appropriate to maintain a sense of togetherness with our neighbors to the north at this time, in what has been such a long time for all the girls involved.”
Priest, who helped establish women’s football in Shetland in 2017, said it was difficult for girls to play in the men’s leagues.
“In order to play with other girls their age, they have to travel outside of Shetland as we don’t have enough players yet to start a girls’ league.”
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