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St Patrick's Athletic forced to lay off players and coaching staff temporarily

The SSE Airtricity League Premier Division club has released a statement after yesterday’s government announcement.

Pat's winger Dean Clarke doing his own training in Leopardstown Park.
Pat's winger Dean Clarke doing his own training in Leopardstown Park.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC are the latest League of Ireland club to temporarily lay off their playing and coaching staff. 

Global sport has been brought to a standstill due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with many major events postponed. 

The SSE Airtricity League season kicked off in February, but it was abruptly stopped less than a month later after just five rounds of matches. 

Hopes to recommence on 19 June appear increasingly unlikely as the government announced yesterday that mass gatherings have been banned until September at the earliest

While the FAI have said they are seeking clarification on that news, Pat’s today released a statement to reveal its latest decision. 

“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 statement reads. 

“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.

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“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. 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.”

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About the author:

Ben Blake

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