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LOI seek help to stave off crisis

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FAI's interim CEO: Niall Quinn. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

FAI's interim CEO: Niall Quinn. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

FAI's interim CEO: Niall Quinn. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

League of Ireland clubs, the FAI and the players' union (PFAI) are working on contingency plans to deal with a 'catastrophic' situation where games are forced behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 crisis.

There is a strong expectation that the government will place restrictions on sporting gatherings once this weekend's scheduled fixtures are out of the way.

League of Ireland clubs are heavily reliant on gate income and will not accept an order to fulfil fixtures without spectators unless they are promised financial support to make up the shortfall.

UEFA and government assistance will be sought, with European football's powers expected to take a prominent role as a number of small leagues are in a similar predicament.

Task force

A task force of the FAI, the PFAI, and clubs will meet on a daily basis to assess the situation after an initial meeting yesterday instigated by the players body.

It's estimated that the combined monthly wages of professional players across both League of Ireland divisions would total around €300k - and that's before other staff and running costs are considered.

An FAI spokesperson said: "We are currently gathering all financial data and working with the clubs and the players on the financial implications they face.

"Once we have a true understanding of this, we will be approaching government and UEFA on behalf of the clubs to seek their support."

Interim CEO Niall Quinn told Virgin Media that games being forced behind closed doors 'would be quite catastrophic financially' for clubs.

"We hope we will be ready and have some sort of defence."