ARTHURLIE have dramatically pulled out of this season’s West of Scotland Football League as coronavirus continues to take its toll on sport.

The Barrhead club had been due to kick-off their first campaign in the new league set-up later this month but have now decided that, with Covid restrictions causing widespread disruption, they no longer want to be involved.

Officials at Arthurlie admit their decision will be “hugely disappointing” for everyone concerned but have stressed that the Keanie Park team intend to bounce back strongly once Covid has been defeated.

In a statement, the club said: “We yearn for the day that this pandemic is over and we can return to a perceived normality – with a vociferous support back on the terraces at Dunterlie.”

Bosses at the new West of Scotland Football League (WoSFL) had canvassed all member clubs to find out if they were happy for the 2020/21 campaign to go ahead as planned.

While most clubs agreed to take part, Arthurlie joined Ardrossan Winton Rovers, Auchinleck Talbot, Cumnock, Glenafton Athletic, Kilbirnie Ladeside, Petershill, Pollok and Whitletts Victoria in deciding to sit this season out.

However, Arthurlie’s under-20s will compete in the Lowland Development League, with their amateur players also still in action.

The fact that fans are not allowed in to watch matches – depriving Arthurlie of revenue – was a key factor in the club’s decision to withdraw from the WoSFL.

Andy McFadyen’s team will not face any penalty over their decision to pull out and are set to return to tier 7 of Scottish football for the 2021/22 campaign.

Arthurlie’s statement added: “This is a hugely disappointing moment for everyone concerned – none more so than the players and management team, who were prepared and ready for a shot at being promoted this season.

“This should not be seen as the end. We are at the beginning of a new journey.

“We will be back to build on the foundations recently laid at the club – from the management team to the strong squad of players that has been assembled and our established connection with Barrhead Youth FC, incorporating our under-20s development side, newly-formed amateur side and the Arthurlie academy teams.

“We are ready to push on together, when the time is right.”