Lower-league Barnet axe staff as virus fears grow


English lower-league club Barnet announced on Tuesday they had put all non-playing staff on notice of redundancy after the National League was suspended due to the coronavirus.

The fifth-tier competition said on Monday it would be suspending play until early April following similar decisions by the Premier League and the English Football League.

It is understood around 60 employees at the London club will be made redundant.

"We are in unprecedented times and as such, certain decisions have been made across the football group to ensure the longevity of Barnet Football Club," said a club statement.

"Over the past few days, we have taken emergency measures to preserve the club and ensure it remains sustainable."

Chairman Tony Kleanthous said the action was important to ensure the survival of Barnet.

The cash-strapped club were relegated from the fourth tier in 2018 and crowds at their north London venue have dropped by 50 percent, causing operational losses of approximately £100,000 per month.

The club said in addition to these challenges "we have to consider the greater challenge of the impact that Covid-19 will have in the immediate and long-term future".

There is mounting concern the pandemic could put cash-strapped clubs out of business.

Bruce Elliott, chairman of Sutton, who also play in the National League, told the Evening Standard newspaper: "It would be a very frightening time.

"If we lose just gate receipts, that is going to have a big effect," he said.

"What would have as big an effect is losing the income from our 3G pitch and social facilities. If everything closed down, there would be huge financial implications."

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