Cork City one of many clubs poised to make cuts

Cork City are among several clubs poised to implement cutbacks after the League of Ireland was postponed until the summer at the earliest.

Cork City one of many clubs poised to make cuts

Cork City are among several clubs poised to implement cutbacks after the League of Ireland was postponed until the summer at the earliest.

Covid-19 has thrown the sporting calendar into freefall and FAI yesterday set June 19 as the date to resume fixtures, although this is only a target.

On the day Irish Rugby announced deferral of wages to staff and players, League of Ireland clubs were crunching their sums to ensure their survival during the lull.

Within minutes of the FAI releasing their plan, which involved cutting the number of games from 36 to 27, Cork City made their own statement.

It read:

The board are currently reviewing the decision and ascertaining the full impact that this will have on the football club. We will update all supporters and FORAS shareholders in due course.

City have endured a troubled past year before this unexpected blow landed. It took the cashing in from Preston North End of their sell-on clauses for Alan Browne and Seán Maguire to copperfasten a licence to even start the season in the Premier Division.

Three points claimed from the first five matches has sunk Neale Fenn’s side to second bottom in the table.

Sligo Rovers, the only side beneath them, remain the sole club to impose temporary lay-offs but others are set to follow. One club is understood to have enough cash to pay only one more week of wages.

Most First Division clubs stopped paying players their wages or expenses since all football activity ceased last Thursday week.

Under the revised calendar revealed by FAI interim chief executive Gary Owens to the 19 clubs via teleconference, the EA Sports Cup has effectively been mothballed.

Top-flight games are to run until December 4, with the play-offs pencilled in for a week later. The FAI Cup final is to finish first, still down for the Aviva Stadium on November 1.

First Division clubs have opted against stripping out a series of games to finish earlier, instead sticking to the original schedule within the broader timescale to December.

All of this, of course, could be considered fanciful.

Reactivating the campaign by staging matches behind closed doors has been deemed a non-runner, thereby placing the authority in the hands of the State as to when crowds will be permitted to gather at public events.

Influencing yesterday’s directive was the European campaigns for Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers, Derry City and Bohemians. They are scheduled to commence in July, yet a health warning about the health situation again applies.

“There are no certainties around the Covid-19 pandemic but this decision offers us something to aim for,” said the FAI’s Fran Gavin, more in hope than expectation.

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