Comment: 'Muratti final? Play on without Jersey'

GUERNSEY PRESS sports editor Rob Batiste discusses the merit of casting Muratti holders Jersey aside in 2021 – if they are unable to field a side due to Covid-19.

Jersey is due to stage the 2021 Muratti Vase final, following its cancellation last year. However, should they be forced to forfeit if they are unable to host either Guernsey or Alderney?
Jersey is due to stage the 2021 Muratti Vase final, following its cancellation last year. However, should they be forced to forfeit if they are unable to host either Guernsey or Alderney?

PROSPECTS of any inter-insular football this season still remain remote even though Jersey’s Covid health crisis appears to be easing – thankfully.

But, here’s the question, and one stemming from what was not much more than a throwaway comment despatched in my ear on the KGV touchline last weekend: ‘Why not simply play a straight Alderney v Guernsey final?’

I scoffed at the thought, but over the week the idea has got more traction inside my old brain to the extent that, yes, why shouldn’t we consider it? After all, there is precedent.

In 1947, Alderney couldn’t compete. The Occupation years had been harder on the Ridunians than either the Guernsey or Jersey communities and they were short on numbers.

But the Muratti Vase competition went ahead with a straight final between the two big boys.

So, working off the same principle, why not consider a similar solution in 2021 if, as it seems likely, Jersey are unable to compete?

As a one-off, why not play the final over a home and away basis with Alderney getting first crack?

Jersey might go bananas at the very thought of playing on without them, and the Inter-Insular Committee will worry themselves over costs, but when you consider that in any normal cup competition walkovers are part and parcel of the rules, you find yourself asking more and more: ‘Why not?’

Indeed, Alderney contesting its first Muratti final since 1938 would be a selling point in itself.

Rob Batiste, Guernsey Press sports editor.

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