Layoffs hit pro soccer in wake of coronavirus

Real Salt Lake

With the coronavirus pandemic basically shutting down American commerce, professional soccer teams and leagues are responding like much of the business community: laying off employees.

We’re not going to turn this article into a listing of layoffs: most cutbacks and furloughs are being done quietly, and in a time when millions of workers are being let go, the number of folks being let go in the pro soccer world is a small part of the economic hardship.

Last week MLS Commissioner Don Garber cut pay for the 300-member New York City staff but reportedly avoided layoffs or furloughs for the time being.

In Utah, Real Salt Lake and its associated USL Championship and NWSL teams have initiated layoffs as well as cutting pay for remaining executives and staff. From

“The club’s executive team has been working diligently to develop a successful continuity plan to sustain operations during these extraordinarily difficult and unprecedented times caused by the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” RSL announced in a statement Tuesday….

“As a result, we are forced to adapt and align our workforce appropriately to face these new challenges and difficult circumstances,” the statement said. “This will require a reduction in salary for all executives and staff as well as a decrease in staffing levels across the organization, which includes a furlough of some of our staff members.

“This is obviously a distressing outcome as we deeply value and appreciate each of our employees.”

Similar layoffs were felt by USL Championship’s North Carolina FC and Memphis 901 FC. According to WRAL, “the club placed over a dozen employees on unpaid furlough, their first such action since the outbreak began. The affected workers include most of their ticket sales office, equipment managers and other front office staff. Players, coaches, and administrative staff remain unaffected at this time.”

Memphis 901 FC and sister team Memphis Redbirds confirmed layoffs and employee furloughs last week. All in all, 18 full-time employees were laid off last Friday, with other full-time employees furloughed in the meantime. The teams both play at AutoZone Park, and both MiLB and USL Championship teams play in sports with suspended seasons, and no start date in site. 

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