Cork City could be run as an amateur club in the First Division

Cork City could be run as an amateur club in the First Division

A general view of Turner's Cross Stadium before the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division game between Cork City and Dundalk. Picture:Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

MEMBERS of Foras, the supporters’ trust which owns Cork City FC, will on Tuesday be furnished with an update on the club’s plans for the 2021 SSE Airtricity League season.

City are set to compete in the First Division after relegation in October and, after it was revealed last week that Grovemoor Ltd will not be taking up a purchase option at the present time, it is likely that the Foras-run club will be an amateur team.

Grovemoor were granted a call option on the purchase of City in October, following a vote of the members of Foras, which has controlled the club since 2010.

However, on Thursday it was revealed that the company had been unable to come to an agreement with the Munster Football Association with regard to a long-term lease on Turner’s Cross and so the transfer of ownership will not be taking place.

In a statement announcing the Grovemoor decision, City made reference to the possibility of playing home games at a venue other than Turner’s Cross — for what would be the first time since the 1995-96 season — if it fails to negotiate reduced rent.

“We may seek to negotiate reduced rates with the MFA for Turner’s Cross in line with our budget, which, if unsuccessful, will result in us exploring alternative venues for playing behind closed doors for next season,” the club stated. “The board will not be making further comment at this time, but will send a full update to our members on our plans, for Tuesday, December 22.”

The board of management had submitted its own licence application separate to the Grovemoor one as a fail-safe and budgets had been prepared in anticipation of various outcomes.

A managerial appointment is imminent, too. 

While Colin Healy, who took over on an interim basis following Neale Fenn’s departure, had been the favourite, it is now believed that former City player and coach Alan Reynolds is the front-runner.

While City will be examining alternatives to Turner’s Cross, the MFA has reiterated its commitment to keeping League of Ireland football at Turner’s Cross, despite the collapse of the proposed takeover by Grovemoor Ltd.

“The Munster Football Association notes the decision of Grovemoor Ltd not to proceed with its purchase of Cork City FC,” a statement read.

“The Munster Football Association remains committed to the future of League of Ireland football at Turner’s Cross and we are available to discuss this with all interested parties.

“The Munster Football Association will be making no further comment at this time.”

Meanwhile, a grey City sweatshirt, produced to honour the memory of the late John Kennedy, has sold out, but will be available again.

John’s daughter Grace had posted a picture of him wearing a similar top on the day she was born and expressed the hope that a new version could materialise.

Designed by City’s Aaron Howey, it proved immensely popular, with all profits going to Marymount Hospice. While the initial allocation is now accounted for, the sweatshirt will be on sale again on January 7.

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