Government's plan may give City new options

Declan Carey. Photo: Sportsfile

Daniel McDonnell

Cork City chairman Declan Carey says the club will look at fresh options available to them after the Government announced its improved wage subsidy scheme.

The Leesiders announced last week that they would be stopping payments to players due to the Covid-19 crisis, following on from a similar move by Sligo Rovers.

However, the state commitment to covering 70pc of wages for employees earning up to €38k per year and the slashing of PRSI costs has offered assurances to other Premier Division clubs that were considering taking the same approach as Sligo and Cork.

Companies with a 25pc decline in turnover who can show they are unable to pay wages normally are being encouraged to keep staff on their books.

The situation presented a fresh crisis for Cork who suffered severe financial difficulties over the winter and needed to strike a deal with Preston owner Trevor Hemmings on clauses for Sean Maguire and Alan Browne to avoid disaster.

Hemmings duly expressed an interest in a takeover of the Leesiders but any talks have been placed on hold while Cork negotiate this unexpected hurdle.

As it stands, Cork staff that have been laid off can now collect €350 from the state. But the club will look into the details of the wage subsidy plan to see if that is a better fit for their position. Carey said Cork had to "act fast" last week as they weren't aware that this package was coming down the tracks.

"There are conditions that need to be met by an individual company to avail of those benefits," Carey told the LOI Weekly podcast.

"We are looking into that actively. What this experience has taught us is to expect the unexpected. We'll see how that can impact us in the coming weeks. At first glance, it looks as though it will benefit us.

"We have to safeguard the club, that's our responsibility to shareholders and members. We've been dealing with crisis after crisis over the past 12 to 18 months," added Carey, who admitted the only small comfort is that the Covid-19 shutdown occurred now rather than last year when they had a much larger wage bill.

Meanwhile, Dundalk boss Vinny Perth says that the club's staff must acknowledge they are in a "privileged position" after their owners indicated that all wage payments will continue.

"You're conscious of saying 'I'm alright Jack' when someone else is on their laptop trying to get onto their social welfare. We have to be proud that we are connected with such a good club and such good owners."