PAYING players will become a challenge if the Vanarama National League falls into line with the rest of English football’s top divisions, Oxford City’s finance director has admitted.

Oxfordshire clubs in Sky Bet League One, BetVictor Southern League and the Uhlsport Hellenic League have all had their league games postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

City were told to play on, drawing 1-1 at Hampton & Richmond Borough, but many expect the National League to reconsider.

Health is the priority, but losing income from the four remaining home games for an indefinite period would leave a hole in the budget.

Paul Lyon said: “We’ve got 16 players under contract and we have to pay them up to the end of April, so we have two pay runs to go.

“We can move the finances around and make sure we can make the payments if we need to, but it’s going to be difficult.

“We wait for the National League and the FA to give us guidance.”

City’s finance chief added: “The health and safety of the public is paramount, so whatever happens happens and we want everyone to stay safe.

“If the government decides games are off we’ll go with that and we have to move on and deal with it.”

City are helped by having an income stream from the rental of their artificial pitches.

Court Place Farm has been packed during the recent period of wet weather, but it is unclear whether such facilities would continue to operate if the government began to tighten restrictions.

Lyon said: “With the floods that have been going on around Oxford we’ve been full every day.

“The 3G pitches have come into their own in the last month or two, which has helped.

“But it depends on what the decision is regarding these type of venues, because on an evening we could have 500 or 600 people onsite.

“It depends if we have to shut everything down.”