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Bradley says clubs need financial support to survive the shutdown

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Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley celebrates. Photo: Sportsfile

Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley celebrates. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORSTFILE

Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley celebrates. Photo: Sportsfile

Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley says financial support will be needed to help League of Ireland clubs survive during the shutdown on football due to the Covid-19 crisis.

A joint FAI and Government appeal to UEFA for up to €1million in emergency funding to assist the league will be made next week.

The FAI announced yesterday evening that "all football actvity" would cease until March 29.

While the lack of games at schoolboy and junior levels is an annoyance, the financial strain for senior clubs is more pressing.

Some have the financial resources to survive during the shutdown but many other clubs will face financial hardship due to the lack of gate receipts and other match-day revenue. An official from Finn Harps admitted earlier this week that the Donegal club "could fold" without financial assistance.

Clubs are contractually obliged to continue paying players during this period. But they are unable to agree on whether the "football activity" ban includes training.

Managers of Premier Division clubs were surveyed yesterday, and most supported a ban on training but at least one club was keen for training to continue. A six-person steering group will meet again today to get a final decision on that.

Bradley said his club had a plan which could see players train in their homes or back gardens.

"Financially, it's going to hurt clubs and, in turn, hurt players. We need to be very careful with every club in the country," Bradley said.

"Us and Dundalk could probably sustain it for a month or so. But it's not about us, it's about the league as a whole and we've got to protect everyone. Us or Dundalk are as important as Finn Harps and Sligo.

"The governing bodies need to keep these clubs afloat, in terms of players wages, staff wages, and when the gate receipts come in again they can be reimbursed."

Irish Independent