'Not impossible' that Elgin City could go out of business because of the coronavirus crisis, warns chairman Graham Tatters
THE financial impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on local businesses could threaten Elgin City’s future, their chairman has warned.
Graham Tatters says it is “not impossible” that the Moray club could go out of business if Scottish football does not resume in June.
The closure of Borough Briggs’ facilities means it cannot host matches, corporate hospitality or social events, resulting in City taking in no money at present.
In the longer term, financial uncertainty in the business world will impact on the club’s much-needed sponsorship revenue.
Yet Tatters revealed how the club has already committed close on a six-figure sum on a future wage bill to players who have signed up to long-term futures at the club.
“We are just a football club and we realise the whole country is caught up in this,” he said.
“We are looking at it from an insular point of view where we have to look after our own problems, but when you think that people are dying and we are worrying about a football club, we are trying to put it all into context.
“Of course we are all concerned about our football club. We don’t want to see something that’s been going since 1893 fold.
“But it’s not impossible to put ourselves in that position at the moment.”
Tatters said a productive year on and off the park had put Elgin in a solid financial position, with the board considering increasing manager Gavin Price’s spending budget for next season, particularly if they were successful in gaining a first-ever league promotion.
Several players were snapped up on longer contracts, with the club keen to build on progress being made.
“Now it’s a case of us doing what we can to reduce our costs to a manageable level and then seeing where we are,” Tatters added.
“The biggest problem that we are really concerned with is that lots and lots of other people are going through this.
We are very grateful for the support we get from the community and we really look for that, but now they are going to be in the same position as the football club. It’s not just football, it’s everybody, all the businesses.
“People may not be able to pay for their signs next season, whether they can afford to pay hospitality or tickets or any sort of sponsorship.”
Elgin did receive some good news this week that SFA club licensing and club academy payments due to them at the end of this season were being paid out early to help tide them through the period of shutdown.
“The future of the club for, I’d like to say three or four months possibly, is OK. But after that, I don’t know what will happen.
“If we don’t start playing football by June and we have to continue paying wages, then it’s going to be a problem.”
Tatters said the club may even consider a crowdfunding effort, similar to the one started by Raith Rovers this week, to drive in cash.