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Dundalk chief: We don't have bottomless pit

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LYING IDLE: Oriel Park, home of Dundalk. Photo: Ben McShane/Sportsfile

LYING IDLE: Oriel Park, home of Dundalk. Photo: Ben McShane/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

LYING IDLE: Oriel Park, home of Dundalk. Photo: Ben McShane/Sportsfile

Dundalk chairman Bill Hulsizer says the club don't have a 'bottomless pit' of money to keep paying their players full wages through the Covid-19 crisis but he is hopeful that cuts can be avoided.

The League of Ireland champions committed to honouring contracts at the start of the crisis and government subsidies have helped them to do so although they would have high earning players paid well in excess of the €38k per annum threshold.

However, the delay around agreement on a return to play has raised questions about continuing to pay at the current level with no income. Dundalk's title rivals Shamrock Rovers agreed a 25pc cut with their staff.

Hulsizer is the father of Matt, the founder of US investment firm Peak6 who are Dundalk's main owners. He said the cash position is being reviewed on an ongoing basis.

"That's a week by week decision that we make as a board along with our investors but believe me, as long as it's physically possible to pay people, we're going to do it because there's enough stress in everybody's life and how you're going to pay your mortgage shouldn't be one of them," said Hulsizer, in an extensive interview with The Argus newspaper.

"Will we run out of money? Eventually. It's not a bottomless pit but at this point we're simply trying to get over the hump along with everybody else in the league.

Donate back

"Nobody knows what is going to happen. At this point we're going along with paying everyone but will it come to a point where we ask our players to donate back 25% of their money? Maybe.

"At this point, it's not a decision I have to make so I'm not going to make it. I want them to be happy and I want to take as much stress out of their lives as I can. I look at Dundalk FC as my extended family. They'll pay me back along the way, I've no doubt.

"I hope that we're back to playing football and making money soon. If that doesn't happen then each day we're going to have to address the problem and see what the solution is but right now I don't have enough information to determine how long it will be until we're back playing."

Hulsizer has been critical of the FAI during his time in Ireland but said the League of Ireland clubs and Abbotstown are more unified than ever despite the confusion around where the 2020 campaign is headed.

"There's no club in Ireland that makes money. Some might say, we had a profit but if you spend €1 million and end up with €100 excess, that's not a profit," he said.

Hulsizer also addressed Peak6's long term commitment to the Louth club, with fears they might walk away consistently expressed locally.

The 77-year-old said Dundalk are in a good position, while appearing to choose his words carefully.

"If PEAK6 decided tomorrow that we'll sell the club, the club will not disappear. Now, are we looking at selling it? No.

"Will that change? Well PEAK6 might get sold so if you worry about things being sold you'll never relax. Don't think about what happens if PEAK6 run away. That doesn't matter because Dundalk is here to stay."