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Sligo Rovers announce temporary layoffs for all staff

Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

13:18 19 Mar 2020

Sligo Rovers have announced the decision to layoff staff amid doubt over the 2020 SSE Airtricity League season due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

In a lengthy statement, the club say the layoffs are temporary but that it will include all management, players and administration staff.

The FAI has been in discussions since last week with the National League Executive Committee and the PFAI in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Irish football's governing body took the decision last week to suspend all footballing activity in the country until March 29.

However, with the country braced for weeks and possibly months of restrictions on movement and interaction, it is unknown as to when SSE Airtricity League action may recommence.

Like every other Premier Division and First Division club, Sligo Rovers are hugely dependent on match day income and in the statement the club says the move was made to protect their long-term future.

"Following intensive talks in the last week involving the National League Executive Committee, the PFAI and the FAI, along with receiving government guidance, the club felt there was no option but to come to this conclusion in order to prioritise long-term employment both in football and administrative roles at Sligo Rovers.

"We acknowledge ongoing efforts to find a solution from all parties and we recognise that it is an evolving situation. However we must act today in the best interest of our club in the long-term.

"Last Tuesday An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar outlined that the Coronavirus crisis would extend into a lengthy period.

This was an expected announcement and made it even clearer to us that League of Ireland football cannot resume until the summer at the earliest, and likely later.

"Our income streams, like nearly all other businesses in the country, have been decimated and we simply cannot afford to function at our full cost level while having little or no income.

"To do anything else would be reckless and would put the very future of Sligo Rovers under severe threat."

The statement goes on to list all actions being taken in an attempt to secure the club's future.

1) Club employees will be paid in accordance with government support for businesses forced to lay off employees temporarily. All staff have been informed of this.

2) All players and employees will be able to return to their regular wage upon the resumption of the League of Ireland. A date will be agreed in due course.

3) All staff have been put on this measure, no exceptions have been made, from the manager to players to administrative staff to ground maintenance personnel.

4) Players from outside of Ireland have been given assistance to return home and most have done so.

5) We will do our utmost to support our employees where possible over the coming months.

Sligo Rovers are the first League of Ireland club to make any such announcement with regard to the laying off of staff since the COVID-19 outbreak.

The statement also points to the important symbiotic relationship between the club and the community in Sligo.

"Taking this step today has been the hardest decision we have undertaken in our role of committee members, but we feel it is the correct one, we need to be decisive and show leadership to preserve our club.

"We add that not one member of our board is paid in any way or receive any expense, many other volunteers give endless commitment to Sligo Rovers too.

"Our priority has always been our club, and our staff, as an organisation immersed in and funded by the local community.

"The road forward from this crisis is not a clear one, we know this temporary measure will have a major impact in the lives of our staff.

"We are taking it to ensure there is a future."

You can read the full statement here on the official club website.

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