CORK City defender and Schull native Ronan Hurley says that he can understand the club’s decision to suspend payments to players during the long lay-off enforced by the Covid-19 outbreak.
Last Saturday, City announced that player payments would cease after this week. The team haven’t played since the loss to St Patrick’s Athletic on March 6th, with the SSE Airtricity League not set to resume until June 19th at the very earliest. With no gate receipts to provide revenue, Hurley accepts the difficult situation that the Rebel Army are in.
‘The club’s financial position is the number-one priority,’ he says.
‘Obviously, their main source of income is through tickets for the games. When that revenue isn’t coming in, they’re going to find it tough to pay everyone’s wages.
‘I think it was the right decision to put the club’s future as the main priority.’
The situation has been escalating quickly, with the league suspending activity on the back of government recommendations and then setting a June return date.
‘I remember training last Thursday week, we were due to play Bohs the next day,’ Hurley says. ‘We were told that the FAI were in discussions, we thought that the Bohs game would go ahead but that the season would be postponed for a few weeks after that.
‘We were preparing for a game the next day but, just after we came in from training, the government put out a statement saying they weren’t allowing crowds of more than 500 people.
‘Then the manager and assistant manager came in and said that the game might be off, but that they weren’t sure. Then, later that day, we were told that the game was postponed, but we didn’t think that things would be cancelled until June!
‘Even when we didn’t know when the season would be back, we were kind of hoping that it might only be two or three weeks, a case of keeping ourselves fit, getting back training and then going straight into the games again.
‘This is like another off-season now after a long pre-season and only getting in four or five games. It might even be longer than the normal off-season.’
Explaining the situation, club chairman Declan Carey said: ‘These are extremely difficult and unprecedented times.
‘The board has daily discussions on the latest financial position of the club and this decision was not an easy one. We are responsible to our shareholders to make these difficult decisions in the best interests of the overall future of the club.
‘We hope things can return to some level of normality soon, however, we urge all our supporters to continue to help the club through this next period of uncertainty through buying merchandise, and supporting our online fundraising initiatives.’