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Derry games off as FAI suspend all activity, with financial help from Uefa sought

 

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Derry City's scheduled game with Sligo Rovers at the Brandywell tonight was one of the first to bite the dust following yesterday's suspension of the Airtricity Premier Division (stock photo)

Derry City's scheduled game with Sligo Rovers at the Brandywell tonight was one of the first to bite the dust following yesterday's suspension of the Airtricity Premier Division (stock photo)

Derry City's scheduled game with Sligo Rovers at the Brandywell tonight was one of the first to bite the dust following yesterday's suspension of the Airtricity Premier Division (stock photo)

Derry City's scheduled game with Sligo Rovers at the Brandywell tonight was one of the first to bite the dust following yesterday's suspension of the Airtricity Premier Division.

A statement on the Candystripes' website explained that all football under the FAI's jurisdiction would be postponed until March 29.

"The decision has been taken in light of the growing threat posed by the Covid-19 outbreak and in the best interests of players, coaches, volunteers, supporters and staff," a statement read.

"This decision will be monitored on an ongoing basis.

"The FAI again met with representatives from the National League Executive Committee and the Professional Footballer's Association of Ireland yesterday, and continue to work with both bodies to help clubs and players through this difficult time.

"This includes postponing Derry City's upcoming games against Sligo Rovers (tonight), St. Patrick's Athletic (March 16), Shamrock Rovers (March 20) and Shelbourne (March 27)."

And 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.

League of Ireland clubs are 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.

A taskforce of the FAI, the PFAI, and clubs will meet on a daily basis to assess the situation after the meeting yesterday.

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

An FAI spokesperson said: "We are gathering all financial data and working with the clubs and the players on the financial implications they face. We will be approaching government and Uefa to seek their support."

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