A pay deferral scheme is being introduced at the Football Association of Ireland from tomorrow, with the highest earners at the body set to have half their salary temporarily withheld.

The FAI say they have taken the decision in light of the Covid-19 crisis and its effect on income streams.

Staff were told this morning that the deferrals will be on an equitable sliding scale and will range between 10% and 50% for anyone earning above €25,000, with senior staff impacted by the biggest deferrals.

A review is planned at the end of April to see if it needs to continue. 

The IRFU introduced a similar deferral scheme for players an staff earlier this month after all rugby activity in Ireland and Europe was halted due to the coronavirus.

The news comes just weeks after the FAI were rescued after revelations of overall debts of over €60 million last year.

The FAI say they intend to restore full pay and refund all deferrals as soon as the national economic situation improves.

Interim FAI chief executive Gary Owens said: "Like the rest of the country, the FAI is now feeling the full financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our projected income streams in these exceptional circumstances.

"The financial challenges faced by the Association are such now that we have been left with no choice but to implement these pay deferrals on an equitable basis. Those who are paid the most by the FAI will take the largest deferrals.

"This difficult decision has been taken to protect the viability of the Association and the future for our staff. Like other national governing bodies who have taken such measures, we will explore all avenues to help us through this crisis.

"We thank our employees for their understanding at this difficult time for everybody in Ireland.

"Their commitment to our game and the Association has been limitless over a very difficult 12 months and I know they will continue to deliver for Irish football in the wake of these latest challenges."