CORK City chairman Declan Carey has said that the club’s immediate future is not in doubt, but he has called on the Football Association of Ireland to provide assistance to SSE Airtricity League clubs.
On Thursday, the FAI imposed a blanket cessation on footballing activities until March 29. For City, that meant the postponement of the home games against Bohemians – due to take place last night – and the clash with Sligo Rovers at Turner’s Cross on March 27 as well as the trip to Waterford, which had been scheduled for next Friday night.
With gate receipts such a major source of income to clubs, revenue will be affected during this period but City will continue to pay staff, with an estimate of between 30 and 40 on the payroll including players, management and office employees.
Carey says that City have been working to limit the impact of such a financial hit and has called on fans of the Rebel Army to continue to support the club by other means so as to ensure cashflow remains.
“We have contingencies and the immediate future of the club isn’t in doubt, to be honest,” he said.
“We’re in a stable financial position right now but, ultimately, that will escalate very quickly, the longer it goes on without games.
“At the moment, we’re just urging all fans to continue supporting club in whatever way they can, whether that’s through buying merchandise online, buying tickets for games through Eventbrite or other outlets.
“We will honour all tickets for future games when they are rearranged. If someone was planning on going to a match or whatever, by all means still buy the ticket and it will help the club from a cashflow perspective, which is hugely important.
“We have staff wages and player wages to pay, that’s where we are right now and that’s what we have to strive to continue to do. Taking away home games is a huge hindrance on that, but we’ll persevere.”
If the situation continues beyond the initial period of downtime, Carey envisages and hopes for intervention by the FAI.
“You would hope so, yeah,” he said.
“At the end of the day, every club is in the same situation, it’s not just us.
“Some clubs might be in a better position than others, to be honest we wouldn’t want to say which side of the road we’d be on until we fully assess things.
“Ultimately, I can’t see the FAI or Uefa or the Government letting clubs fold because of having to pay player wages without gate receipts, it wouldn’t make sense."
He said if Covid-19 blows over by June it would be unlikely four or five League of Ireland clubs would have gone out of business, the FAI would have to step in.
City are not in training at the moment, having followed the FAI’s “all footballing activities” guidelines. “We’ll assess things as they go,” he said. “It’s definitely a time of uncertainty and that can breed nervousness within the club and on the business side of things, too.
“This is affecting every business, all across the country and unfortunately we’re one of those businesses that’s in a precarious position because of our cashflows and the elimination of funds that would be expected to come in, that we had projected for.
“We’re working hard on contingencies in the background and we’d encourage everyone to support the club.
“We’ll have a couple of initiatives pushed out over the next couple of weeks, to keep things moving.”
Carey had no comment to make on a potential takeover of City by English businessman Trevor Hemmings. These have been paused due to travel restrictions and Hemmings’ attendance at Cheltenham.