Football | St. Patrick’s Athletic temporarily lay off players and staff

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St. Patrick’s Athletic have been forced to temporarily lay off players and staff due to the coronavirus pandemic, the SSE Airtricity League club have confirmed.

The Inchicore club say they have had virtually no income in the seven weeks since their last Premier Division game, and claim it is impossible to continue to pay staff due to ongoing uncertainty over when it will be safe for sport to return.

The Football Association of Ireland and the National League Executive Committee are currently working with all 19 SSE Airtricity League clubs to pursue all possible returns to football once the national lockdown is lifted in Ireland.

St. Pat’s, who are currently fourth in the Premier Division after four matches, confirmed the news in an official club statement.

“It is with considerable regret that the board of St Patrick’s Athletic FC, following extensive deliberation, announces that as of today it has been left with no option but to temporarily lay off its playing and coaching staff,” the statement read.

“The board has carefully considered statements made over recent days by Government ministers and public health officials, which make it clear that sporting events involving large crowds, and therefore League of Ireland football as we know it, are most unlikely to recommence until autumn at the earliest.”

“We completely understand and accept the rationale for these statements, given the devastating effects of the coronavirus and the absence to date of methods to prevent its transmission other than through social distancing.

“We accept that the preservation of the lives and health of our community must take precedence over other concerns. It is nearly seven weeks since our last game. We have had virtually no income since then and this will remain the case until it is again possible to play in front of large crowds. 

“The board had been working on the assumption that this could happen in June, as planned by the FAI and the National League Executive Committee. 

“Thanks to the agreement of our players and staff, who agreed  adjustments to their contracts, we have up to now maintained everyone in employment.

“However, it is impossible for us to continue to do this when it is now uncertain that football, and our budgeted income stream, will resume at any time this year. 

“It would be imprudent for us to attempt to do so and would jeopardise the survival of our club.  We cannot take that chance.”

Last month, Sligo Rovers also took the decision to temporarily lay off all staff in a bid to ease the financial strain caused by the suspension of the League of Ireland season.

Shamrock Rovers also revealed last week that the Hoops’ players have agreed to take a 25% cut during the crisis.

Having kicked off in February, most teams have only played either four or five matches of the 2020 season.

Bohemian FC midfielder Keith Ward is worried the season will be voided.

“I’m quite worried. I think our season is going to be scrapped,” the Bohs star told

“I’m quite worried. I think our season is going to be scrapped,” said Ward, speaking to RTE Sport.

“You hear that a pub can’t open, so how’s a ground going to open?

“Everyone wants to know when the lockdown is finished, but how do people know? 

“The virus, it is what it is so you’ve just got to play it day by day, but I am a bit worried that our league could be in a bit of trouble.”

“I’m quite worried. I think our season is going to be scrapped,” said Ward, speaking to RTÉ Sport.

“You hear that a pub can’t open, so how’s a ground going to open? Everyone wants to know when the lockdown is finished, but how do people know? 

“The virus, it is what it is so you’ve just got to play it day by day, but I am a bit worried that our league could be in a bit of trouble.”