Football: Côte d’Or FC |09 April 2020
Club closure is a stark reality
Robert Payet, the president of reigning SeyPearl Premier League champions Côte d’Or, has told Sports NATION that club closure is a grim reality as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Football faces a dire period due to the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and if there is no bail out by the government and the Seychelles Football Federation, clubs will fold at a fast rate,” revealed the Côte d’Or club president to Sports NATION.
Mr Payet said he hopes the local football federation comes to the assistance of clubs soon so as to avoid clubs contemplating closure as during this time of crisis, it will be impossible to see any sponsorship going towards club financing.
“Sponsorship is non-existent and it will be the case for the next year or so and we think that the federation through Fédération International de Football Association (Fifa) assistance can come to our rescue soon to help us meet our running cost on a monthly basis,” explained Côte d’Or president Payet.
Mr Payet also spoke on the hardships he is encountering with his club especially as he used to sustain his team through his tourism business which has now grinded to a halt with no income whatsoever but where he has to support his 100 or so workers.
“Football is not my priority at the moment and is the last thing on my mind so I have made this clear to my players that we cannot provide them with an allowance while for the foreign players, I wanted to release them to go home but as there are no flights, they are still here and this is another financial burden which the club will have to see how to deal with,” stated Mr Payet who is hoping the government through the finance relief package also steps in to help this category of workers who possess a gainful occupation permit (GOP).
As for the resumption of football, Mr Payet admits that it will take some time before matches are resumed as there are several issues that have to be dealt with especially the financial assistance from the federation which is crucial.
“I think it is vital that we complete the league season as there are five matches to go and if we have to play behind closed doors, this is a viable option but we must never think of declaring the league null and void which is not an acceptable solution. But at the moment, I foresee it happening in June at the earliest as the teams will need time to start training before they restart playing and when we get back to the field, the players will have to understand that they will be playing for the love of the sport as it will be difficult for clubs to provide them with cash incentives as in the past,” Mr Payet related to Sports NATION.
Mr Payet is adamant that a mass closure of clubs is imminent if there is no urgent financial bailout package from the federation.