The coronavirus continues to wreak havoc in every country that it touches. With all sport suspended it has presented clubs with difficult decisions that they need to make with no revenue coming in. Sligo Rovers announced during the week that in order to safeguard the future of the club they would have to temporarily lay off all employees of the club from admin staff to coaching staff to players.
This move ensures that all involved will qualify for the emergency state payment for employees who lose their job as a result of the current pandemic. They have also stated that they will reinstate all involved once the season resumes. They have also assisted their players from outside of Ireland to return to their home country. Sadly it looks like they will not be the last club to have to take measures like this.
Cork City announced that after this week they won’t be in a position to continue playing their staff and players. They too will be looking to make sure that all involved can avail of the state payment. In the First Division Drogheda United, Bray Wanderers and Cobh Ramblers have all also suspended payments to their players. It isn’t all bad news as Bohemian FC announced that they would continue to honour their contracts to players and staff.
Amidst this uncertainty, clarity has been provided as to when the league hopes to resume. There was a meeting during the week between the FAI and National League Executive Committee. They have set a provisional return date for Friday, June 19th. The season will be extended to December 11th. The last round of games in the Premier Division will be scrapped.
This will mean a loss of 4/5 home games for clubs. The full First Division programme will be completed but the EA Sports Cup will be scrapped. That means Dundalk will hold onto the trophy that they won last season for another year. The Extra.ie FAI Cup Final will still go ahead as planned in the Aviva Stadium on Sunday, November 1st. At least now clubs have a date to work forward to providing some sense of certainty in what are uncertain times.
And finally, best wishes to former Drogheda United player Lee Duffy who is currently recovering from the coronavirus. Duffy who is now playing with Warrenpoint Town told over the weekend of his experiences with the virus. So make sure all to stay safe, keep your distance and wash your hands.