31 January 2011 – An Open Letter to the Board of Directors
A Chairdean Chòir,
Entry of Camanachd Leòdhais to North Division Three
We are writing to you in relation to your impending decision on Wednesday 2 February regarding the confirmation of our club’s application to join North Division Three for 2011. We are grateful to the Competitions Committee for its decision to accept our application and for our inclusion on the fixture list but we await patiently the Board’s final decision.
There have been several concerns raised throughout our application process and we feel that it would be of assistance to the Board and to our own club to set out once again our comprehensive and complete answers to these concerns.
We believe that we have made the strongest possible technical case for entry based upon the following criteria.
· We have a dedicated senior player pool of 25, the majority of whom are over 21.
· We also have a youth system that is involved with four schools and one fèis which is producing new players every year.
· We have a passionate and hard working committee, which is functioning well.
· We possess the financial wherewithal to meet all the entry requirements of the Association and to support our club on an on-going basis.
· We have at no point since we entered cup shinty in 2007 failed to fulfil a fixture.
· We have successfully hosted our own sixes with visiting teams from across the mainland.
· We have secured a £2000 strip sponsorship deal over 3 years with Harris Tweed Hebrides and are expecting further sponsorship to follow in its path.
· We have set up a 100 club which will provide a steady income for the club and we also continue to fundraise in other ways.
· We are happy with having to play the vast majority of our away games in a block at the beginning of the season. This is not a hardship for us and fits in nicely with the change in ferry timetable which will allow clubs to make the visit to Lewis in a day via Skye if they do not wish to make an overnight stay.
· We have secured the use of a park on machair land in Barvas, which after some appropriate ground works, will be ready for play on the 14th of May, our first scheduled home game.
· We will facilitate the movement of visiting clubs once on the island in order to minimize costs.
· We have been involved in extensive discussions with officials and directors of the Camanachd Association and have answered every concern that they have raised.
· We want to play shinty.
We believe our application fulfils the Camanachd Association’s own objectives as set out in the Memorandum of Association as well as the current aims of the Association according to its strategic plan. We have gone into this process with our eyes and ears open and ensured that we are fully aware of the costs and commitments required of us.
It is not a sustainable position for our club to only access competitive shinty off-island. As a club we are unanimous that league entry, with homes games in Lewis, is the only way to ensure the long term survival of shinty in Lewis and Harris.
We believe that any rejection of the club based upon geography will have two effects; it will discredit any claim that shinty has to being a national sport, and will also effectively act as a ban in perpetuity on clubs from the Western Isles joining the league as the travel situation is not likely to change for the foreseeable future.
We will exhaust every avenue in order to achieve our dream of finally bringing competitive shinty to Lewis as we believe that the future for our club will be a bleak and futile one if confirmation is not forthcoming. Camanachd Leòdhais will add to the shinty family and not take away.
We hope you will ratify your Competition Committee’s position regarding our application for entry to the league and make the right decision for shinty in the Western Isles.
We look forward to your decision.
Leis gach deagh dhùrachd
The Committee of Comann Camanachd Leòdhais
Chieftain – Annette Murray
President – Iain Sinclair
Secretary – Andrew MacAskill
Treasurer – Daniel Gallagher
First Team Manager – Paul Duke
Fixtures Secretary – Eòghan Stewart
Fundraising & Mentoring Officer – Kenneth MacLeod
Club Captain – Scott Murray
Youth Co-ordinators – Sean MacLeod & John Nally
Past President – Conor MacDonald