Dundalk FC continued to pay their players through the Covid-19 lockdown not because they had to but because they wanted to.

That was the view of chairman Bill Hulsizer as the club returned to collective training on Monday after 89 days apart.

While some have said that the SSE Airtricity League champions only continued to pay staff throughout the lockdown as it is a requirement to compete in Europe, Hulsizer refuted that idea.

He said: “No we didn’t have to. We chose to and at the time we chose to, we didn’t know if there was going to be European football so that didn’t enter into the equation at all.

“We made the decision to pay our players and our staff because there was enough strife and stress regarding the pandemic that we didn’t want to add to it and put our staff and players under even more pressure.

“This has not been a happy time for anybody so we said we’d make the decision to keep paying them and that’s what we did.

“I can’t say if they cancelled football tomorrow what we would do. We have a board of directors and investors who would tell us what to do but I can only say that we did that because we care about Dundalk FC, about our players, about our staff and about our fans.

“We may come back and ask the fans to support us down the line, I don’t know, but what I can say is that we’re going to do our best to make Dundalk one of the best teams in the world.”