Wellington Phoenix have placed their academy on hiatus while pay cuts for their A-League players are looming closer, according to general manager David Dome.
The Kiwi club confirmed on Friday it had halted the funding for its academy program following New Zealand Football's recent announcement that all community football will be postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It is a significant decision as the large academy has been a successful breeding ground for club and country, luring many of the most talented Kiwi players and their families to Wellington.
Ten All Whites have emerged from its program, including teenage star Sarpreet Singh, who is now on the books of 29-time German champions Bayern Munich.
Academy director Paul Temple said closing the doors indefinitely will hit the football community hard.
"There are significant sacrifices and financial implications to do this and with the current situation we have a moral obligation to them to make decisions early and with pragmatism," Temple said.
"Football won't look the same as we left it, with COVID-19 no doubt altering the football in New Zealand going forward."
While more than half of the 11 A-League clubs have stood down players and staff, Dome was proud Wellington have absorbed the initial plunge in revenue by placing their personnel on annual leave, effectively keeping them on full pay.
However, he told Newshub some hard decisions will need to be made in May, with uncertainty surrounding what sort of central broadcast pay-out will be received.
"We're going to have to lose some players to make it affordable," Dome said.
"Without the broadcast payment coming through ... how we meet our salary payments as they currently stand is a huge, huge stretch."
FFA said on Thursday it intends to resume the A-League season as soon as possible but a number of criteria need to be satisfied before that can happen.
Dome said Phoenix had already prepared themselves for no resumption in May and conceded it was almost certain the team would need to base themselves in Australia to see out the season in whatever form it took.