St Patrick's Athletic have today announced that they have temporarily laid off all players and coaching staff due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding COVID-19.
The Inchicore outfit, in a statement put across their social media, have said that they had previously agreed to contract adjustments for players and staff when lockdown began originally. However, due to statements over the previous days from government ministers regarding mass gatherings being postponed until Autumn at the earliest, the Pat's board had no choice but to take this action.
The club, following on from contract adjustments, have continued their community work despite the onset of COVID-19. This has included school workbooks for children and the delivery of food to frontline workers alongside sponsors. Pat's, in order to generate income in place of gate receipts, have also set up a Patreon, which features classic games and interviews with club legends and current players.
However, despite their 112 patrons, Pat's are only bringing in roughly €1,000 per month through that newly-founded stream. For comparison, one league match with an average attendance (as per 2019 figures) of 1,890 would see the club bring in multiples of that amount.
Pat's aren't the first League of Ireland Premier Division club to take these measures. Sligo Rovers also had to temporarily lay off playing and coaching staff, with a view to football resuming in June, as per the FAI's directive. However, these measures are set to be extended. Shamrock Rovers have also taken the decision to cut the wages of players and staff during this period.
Before the League of Ireland halted, Pat's found themselves in fourth position in the Premier Division, winning two and losing two of their opening four games.
Here you can read the club's statement in full:
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 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.
It is nearly 7 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.
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. When there is greater clarity on this, and on the arrangements for completing the current season, we will be in a position to address our commitments to all our stakeholders to include Players, Management, Coaching Staff, Volunteers, Patrons, Season Ticket Holders, Sponsors, our Academy and all the St Pat's community.
In the meantime, we will continue to engage with the entire St Pat's Family through our social media and community programmes.