Sligo Rovers have temporarily laid off all their staff in an attempt to protect long-term employment amid uncertainty surrounding the League of Ireland's return date due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

All players, management, coaching and administration staff will be entitled to the Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment, while all foreign players have already returned home, with the help of the club.

Sligo, like all League of Ireland clubs, rely heavily on gate receipts for income and with no fixtures likely to go ahead while the country deals with the Covid-19 outbreak, they have been forced to make staff redundant.

In a statement, the committee described today's move as "the hardest decision we have undertaken" but one they feel is necessary "to be decisive and show leadership to preserve our club".

"Our priority has always been our club, and our staff, as an organisation immersed in and funded by the local community," read the statement.

"The road forward from this crisis is not a clear one, we know this temporary measure will have a major impact in the lives of our staff. We are taking it to ensure there is a future."

Sligo are the first Premier Division club to take this step following the suspension of all soccer activity in the country until 29 March at the earliest.

First Division side Drogheda United suspended payments to players and staff on Monday.

Liam Buckley's Sligo are currently bottom of the Premier Division with no points from their four matches.

The statement in full can be read below.

"Sligo Rovers have today reached the extremely difficult decision to implement temporary layoffs for all management, players and administration staff due to the shutdown of the League of Ireland for the past two weeks and foreseeable future.

"Following intensive talks in the last week involving the National League Executive Committee, the PFAI and the FAI, along with receiving government guidance, the club felt there was no option but to come to this conclusion in order to prioritise long-term employment both in football and administrative roles at Sligo Rovers.

"We acknowledge ongoing efforts to find a solution from all parties and we recognise that it is an evolving situation. However we must act in the best interest of our club in the long-term.

"Last Tuesday An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar outlined that the Coronavirus crisis would extend into a lengthy period.

"This was an expected announcement and made it even clearer to us that League of Ireland football cannot resume until the summer at the earliest, and likely later.

"Our income streams, like nearly all other businesses in the country, have been decimated and we simply cannot afford to function at our full cost level while having little or no income.

"To do anything else would be reckless and would put the very future of Sligo Rovers under severe threat.

"We have taken the following measures:

1) Club employees will be paid in accordance with government support for businesses forced to lay off employees temporarily. All staff have been informed of this.

2) All players and employees will be able to return to their regular wage upon the resumption of the League of Ireland. A date will be agreed in due course.

3) All staff have been put on this measure, no exceptions have been made, from the manager to players to admin staff to ground maintenance personnel.

4) Players from outside of Ireland have been given assistance to return home and all have already done so.

5) We will do our utmost to support our employees where possible over the coming months.

"As a club we have operated as the most consistent completely full-time employer in the League of Ireland since our return to the Premier Division 15-years-ago.

"Taking this step today has been the hardest decision we have undertaken in our role of committee members, but we feel it is the correct one, we need to be decisive and show leadership to preserve our club.

"We add that not one member of our board is paid in any way or receive any expense, many other volunteers give endless commitment to Sligo Rovers too."

"Our priority has always been our club, and our staff, as an organisation immersed in and funded by the local community.

"The road forward from this crisis is not a clear one, we know this temporary measure will have a major impact in the lives of our staff. We are taking it to ensure there is a future.

"We also recognise the widespread business closures in the area which is very visible in any drive through Sligo town and county. The effects this will have on our community will be significant.

"We know it will also bring great concern to our fans and sponsors. Our community and supporter base provides extraordinary support that defies logic and helps sustain our club.

"Our promise as a committee is to get through this period and return with a sustainable and healthy Sligo Rovers."