National League Barnet became the first Non-League club to take drastic action over the growing battle against the coronavirus crisis on Tuesday by laying off their entire non-playing staff.
Head coach Darren Currie is on the list of employees facing the chop but the Bees say he has a “long notice period” and will carry on if the 2019-20 season restarts.
Barnet chairman Tony Kleanthous told fans in a statement that he had to deliver the bad news to staff to ensure the survival of the club.
Kleanthous said: “Our greatest concern is that within the UK and across the entire world, people are losing loved ones. Our sympathies and thoughts go out to everyone affected but right now, I have to focus my attention closer to home and look at the impact it’s having on our club.
— Barnet FC ? (@BarnetFC) March 17, 2020
“It is my responsibility to ensure Barnet FC continues to survive and remains financially stable and therefore, I have had to make difficult decisions. I have to be open and honest with the staff and it’s been a difficult past few days having to deliver the bad news but it’s something that had to be done.
“I have not had time to think about plans for next season yet but we will have to find a way to move forward based upon our current crowd attendance because existing National League rules limit any signings we can make or players’ salaries we can commit to going forward.
“The knock-on effects are of course heart-breaking for me personally as I am fully aware of how this will impact my phenomenal team of hard-working support staff across the group.”
The Vanarama National League was officially suspended at teatime on Monday within minutes of the Government changing its advice on fighting the coronavirus.
The campaign was put on hold soon after 5.30pm, three days after deciding to play over the weekend on Friday and despite the Premier League and English Football League suspending their matches until April 3.
National League Statement | National League Competition Suspended
— The National League (@TheVanaramaNL) March 16, 2020
The Northern Premier League also suspended their season until further notice earlier on Monday afternoon as Britain’s battle against the coronavirus continues to escalate.
The National League and the NPL broke ranks with the Southern League and Isthmian League on Friday by not suspending their campaign at the weekend as sport was decimated by the public health crisis.
The competitions had been taking a joint approach to the public health crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak since meeting with the Football Association and other Non-League competitions last Wednesday.
Make sure you get your copy of The Non-League Paper on a Sunday for the latest news from across Non-League over the last seven days and the growing impact of the coronavirus on the game and society.