Club statement: Return to football

Sligo Rovers can confirm that the club will return to play following extensive meetings with the Football Association of Ireland and our fellow League of Ireland clubs.

The decision has been reached following lengthy discussions within the management committee and taken in the belief of what is best for the future of the football club.

The Bit O’ Red wishes to state that from the outset of this crisis that it has been our target to return to playing this season.

It also became clear that Sligo Rovers would be the club hit hardest by the Covid-19 crisis as our fundraising (€500,000 in 2019) and gate receipts (at highest level in seven years last year) have been decimated. This forms 70% of our annual budget.

We have accepted a financial package, which, in truth, will still leave a massive strain on the football club and also required a compromise from all parties involved.  

We want to acknowledge that our management team, our players, administration staff and the wider Sligo Rovers community have all played their part in encouraging the decision to return.

Not returning to this season would leave us in a position that we may not have been able to recover from. It would leave the club with debts that could not be overcome.

That was the defining factor in reaching this decision.

We have consulted with some supporter groups, including the Bit O ‘Red Supporters Trust, who will help facilitate a GoFundMe page to help with costs.

Click here for that.

We will also launch our Annual Draw, with a change in ticket sale policy to be compliant with Covid-19. The Bit O’ Red Wall Stage 2 will also commence.

The financial challenge is significant and requires a high level of support but the alternative is much worse. 

Our first-team players returned to training and employment this week.

Our underage players will soon follow. In the last number of years the people of Sligo have built a football club that completely defied the environment imposed on us by the former regime in the FAI.

We have a home that is a hub in our community, we have one of the outstanding football facilities in the league, and a shared bond and love of our club and the game.

The next few months will be about ensuring we hold on to all those things.

An update on attending matches and streaming will follow next month.

Our club’s history is filled with a steely determination to survive all the challenges thrown our way. We have never given up in over 90 years, we have defied logic and our best days have come from it.

On the pitch, we face a massive challenge in 14 matches left to play in the season.  But it was the only scenario in which we could return.

This format proposed today was of particular disappointment to the club and is something we sternly object to. We believe it is grossly unfair, unjust and do not see the matter as concluded.

We will be having further discussions on this issue with relevant parties.

From today we will regroup, we will rally together and take on the next 16 weeks with the resilience that has got us this far as a football club.

We thank everyone for their support in recent months and look forward to returning to the pitch on 31 July.

Sligo Rovers Management Committee