'Football without fans is nothing': Cork City chairman expresses reservations about games behind closed doors

Cork City chairman Declan Carey has expressed serious reservations about proposals to play football behind closed doors, as it appears a majority of League of Ireland clubs are now against the idea.
'Football without fans is nothing': Cork City chairman expresses reservations about games behind closed doors

Cork City chairman Declan Carey has expressed serious reservations about proposals to play football behind closed doors, as it appears a majority of League of Ireland clubs are now against the idea.

Clubs had until today at lunchtime to respond to the 40-page document they received from the FAI earlier this week which outlined the detailed and demanding steps they would have to take in order to safely facilitate matches played behind closed doors while Covid-19 restrictions remain in place.

Shamrock Rovers, Dundalk and Derry City have all backed the plan but other clubs are not supportive and, while Cork City are continuing to engage with the process, Carey has flagged real concerns about its feasibility, primarily on health and financial grounds.

“We’ve sent our financial projections to the FAI and without substantial ancillary revenues being generated from streaming, then playing behind closed doors would put the club in serious jeopardy from a financial point of view,” he said. “We have not received any information yet from the FAI to this effect so we will wait on see.”

Carey said that the proposal had also been sent to City’s event management team and medical experts to help the club understand “the operational impact and overall health risks” associated with the plan.

“Our primary concern as a Board is for our players and staff,” he said.

“Any plan which is in any way deemed unfit for purpose from a health perspective is something that we will absolutely not be supporting.

“But, ultimately, we will be taking the advice of medical experts, provided that, if deemed safe, playing behind closed doors would not impact negatively the club’s financial position.”

He added: “Playing games behind closed doors would go against the ethos of the club. I know it’s a cliché but football without fans is nothing and watching the League of Ireland via a stream just wouldn’t be the same as going to the Cross on a Friday night.”

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