THE Finn Harps Board of Directors is set to meet this weekend to discuss the impact of the suspension of all football related activities until at least March 29.
The Football Association of Ireland, following a series of talks with a number of bodies, including the Irish Government, announced yesterday that all football under its jurisdiction was suspended until at least March 29 due to fears around the spread of coronavirus.
Harps say they are awaiting clarification on a number of issues, including potential financial assistance from the Government or from UEFA, an avenue being explored by the FAI.
A number of options were considered by League officials.
Harps favoured a suspension of the League rather than playing behind closed doors or to play with spectator numbers limited to less than 500.
Earlier this week, in an interview with the42, Harps’ director of Communications and Engagement laid bare the concerns.
“You don’t want to be leaving people high and dry, but if the income dries up, how do we keep the players and management and that looked after? It’s pretty scary,” he said.
The initial period of suspension for football covers four games for Harps – including home fixtures against Shelbourne and Bohemians.
The Harps Board is expected to convene on Sunday to discuss the situation and this evening the club outlined a number of measures where supporters can aid the club to cope, and survive, through what they say is a ‘difficult period’, including ‘virtual tickets’ for the postponed matches, membership of the 500 Club and the Finn Park officials are to launch a major new fundraising draw.
“Finn Harps welcome the government and FAI decision to suspend all football activities including Academy and Underage football until at least March 29th and will fully implement all recommendations,” Harps said in a statement.
“The health and well-being of our players, staff, supporters and the wider public are paramount and are the primary consideration at this time.
“This situation obviously puts considerable financial pressure on all League of Ireland clubs, especially those like Finn Harps who are exclusively community based, fan owned and run by volunteers.
“We are very conscious of our responsibilities to our players and staff and the club is liaising with the NLEC, FAI and fellow League of Ireland clubs as we plan for the challenging time ahead of us.”
The interim measures Harps have put in place include:
Virtual Tickets: Tickets for Monday’s postponed match vs Shelbourne are currently on sale at https://member.clubforce.com/finnharpstickets and we will place tickets on sale for the other postponed game vs Bohemians on 27th March in the near future. We would urge fans who had intended to attend those games to consider buying their tickets now. All tickets will be valid for the rescheduled games.
500 Club: Our 500 Club has been growing rapidly since its relaunch in January, with over 200 subscribers to date and many more supporters having pledged to join. This fundraiser is an ideal way for anyone who wants to support the club at this time to do so. Supporters can join online at www.finnharps.ie/500club and subscribing, even temporarily for this cessation period, at just €25 per month could be vital in helping the club negotiate their financial commitments at this time. Advance payment options for 6 or 12 months are also available which would of course be particularly helpful. Advance payments for any period can be arranged by contacting any club director or emailing email@example.com
Furthermore, work is underway to bring forward the launch of a major fundraising draw planned for later in the year and details of this will be revealed in the coming weeks. Early support for this fundraiser will also be crucial to the club at this time, particularly through online sales.