St Patrick’s Athletic temporarily lay off players and coaching staff

League of Ireland side St Patrick’s Athletic have announced that they are temporarily laying off all players and coaching staff due to the ongoing coronavirus situation.

The Saints sat in fourth place in the table when the Premier Division was ground to a halt in March.

“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,” a club statement read on Wednesday.

“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 re-commence 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.”

‘Virtually no income’

The lack of revenue from gate receipts was a crucial factor in the move.

“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,” they continued. “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.

“Like all supporters, we hope the bleak outlook currently facing sport will improve sooner rather than later, and we look forward to the resumption of training and playing as soon as it is feasible to do so.

“In the meantime, we will continue to engage with the entire St Pat’s family through our social media and community programmes.”

Return to play possibilities

Meanwhile, the Football Association of Ireland met with the National League Executive Committee to discuss the resumption of the SSE Airtricity League.

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