Coronavirus concerns: Possibility of playing behind closed doors would have massive implications for Finn Harps

Donegal club is hugely dependant on fans at matches for income

Coronavirus concerns: Possibility of playing behind closed doors would have massive implications for Finn Harps

Match day income is vital for Finn Harps

The coronavirus outbreak could spell massive problems for clubs like Finn Harps - especially if matches are postponed or played behind closed doors.

Fixtures in many countries around Europe are already being affected due to the virus, and there are understandable concerns among League of Ireland clubs.

Tonight's Manchester City - Arsenal game is off as a precautionary measure after a number of Arsenal personnel met recently with the owner of Olympiakos soccer club who has contracted the virus , in the North, a Linfield player has tested positive for the virus, and earlier this week, the Football Association of Ireland confirmed that there would no pre-match handshakes in line with “recommendations made by the World Health Organisation to minimise potential transmission of COVID-19″.

The prospect of playing games behind closed doors is looming.

And, if the number of people tested positive here continues to rise, sport will surely be hit.

For clubs like Finn Harps and Cork City, who are particularly dependent on gate receipts generated on match days, the prospect of playing behind closed doors could have massive financial implications.

Without the cash from fans filing through the turnstiles, Harps would be faced with a financial nightmare.

Speaking to Donegal Live, Finn Harps Marketing Officer, Aidan Crawford, commented: "We cannot afford to have one game behind closed doors."

Without match-day income, Harps would be in real bother. And it’s not just the cash from admission, there is the half-time draw, programme sales and revenue from the club shop. Without match day income, huge pressures would fall on the club to pay players.

Commenting on this scenario this week, Aidan McNelis, a board member and director of Communications and Engagement at Finn Harps, told the website, “We would almost certainly fold in that scenario unless there was outside assistance.”

“We have no backer with deep pockets — it’s fan owned, fan run, fan funded. Games behind closed doors would have us in massive trouble and quickly too,” he said.

All League of Ireland clubs are monitoring the situation. A meeting of the national league clubs' executive took place today.

While public health is of the utmost priority, the current uncertainty is worrying for all clubs.

Harps travel to Dublin this Friday to face Shamrock Rovers and are at home to Shelbourne on Monday.

More News

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.