Coronavirus: Sligo Rovers announce temporary lay-offs

Sligo Showgrounds
Sligo Rovers are bottom of the League of Ireland table after four games

Sligo Rovers have become the first Irish top-flight club to announce temporary lay-offs due to the postponement of league football.

The League of Ireland has been suspended until 29 March due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Rovers said the "extremely difficult" decision was taken after having their income streams "decimated".

"We must act in the best interest of our club in the long-term," read the club's statement.

The club confirmed that these measures extend to all players and employees and that they will return to their regular wage when the League of Ireland returns.

While a revised date for the resumption of football is yet to be announced by the Football Association of Ireland, the club admit that, following Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's emergency address on Tuesday evening, they do not expect the league to continue until "the summer at the earliest".

The club added: "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.

Rovers are the first top-flight club to announce temporary lay-offs after second-tier side Drogheda United suspended payments to players and staff on Monday.

Sligo's statement added: "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 on the lives of our staff. We are taking it to ensure there is a future."