Last Thursday, the 17th of December, the Board of Management of Cork City Football Club announced that Grovemoor Ltd., and its owner Mr. Trevor Hemmings, had informed us that due to being unable to agree terms on a lease agreement with the Munster Football Association (MFA), that Grovemoor Ltd would not be proceeding with their option to purchase Cork City Football Club at this time.
As the Board had communicated to its members in October of this year, failure to secure investment vis-a-vis a full takeover of the football club would result in severe cuts across the club, particularly to the playing budget and the club’s professional staff, along with presenting a risk that the club would not secure a license to participate in the League of Ireland First Division for the 2021 season.
Following on from the events of last week, and following discussions with Grovemoor Ltd., the Board are pleased to announce that Mr Trevor Hemmings has committed to helping the club secure a license to participate in the League of Ireland for 2021. The Board would like to publicly thank Mr Hemmings and his representatives for once again making a commitment to Cork football and in doing so securing the jobs of our professional staff for the upcoming season.
Our continued work with Grovemoor along with the budget that the board has put in place for the 2021 football season will enable us to maintain our current academy structures and professional off-field structures which we believe are a fundamental pre-requisite to a re-building process which must take place. The club will be adopting a youth-orientated first-team player recruitment policy for the upcoming football season.
Beyond this, our current business model still makes it particularly difficult for us to regularly compete at the top-end of Irish football. This is not a situation which we are happy with, and is a far cry from what we believe Cork City Football Club can achieve, both on and off the pitch. This is a particularly dispiriting situation given the unique opportunity of investment from Mr. Hemmings, of which he and Grovemoor are committed to pursuing.
For these reasons, the Board of Management of Cork City FC would state our absolute disappointment that an agreement has not been reached with the Munster Football Association, in securing a long-lease that would have allowed Grovemoor Ltd., and Mr Hemmings to invest in the requisite infrastructure that is critical to the growth of the football club, and the development of football across Cork and Munster as a whole. Significant investment in Irish football is a rarity, and the current situation we find ourselves in is nothing more than an opportunity wasted, particularly given the dedication that Mr Hemmings and Grovemoor Ltd., have shown toward Cork football, despite currently having no ownership in it. We would now strongly encourage the MFA to proactively engage with Grovemoor Ltd., and the FAI to reach a solution which would be to the betterment of our collective football community, which should be a common goal for all stakeholders involved at various levels of football across Cork city, county, and the whole of Munster.
We hope all supporters have a safe and enjoyable Christmas.
Board of Management.