Newcastle United are reported to have become the first Premier League side to put staff into furlough, as the Tyneside club begin to feel the weight of the coronavirus crisis.
Clubs up and down the English football ladder are braced to be hit hard by the lack of gate receipts, with the Magpies missing out on six home league matches, and an FA Cup quarter-final at St James' Park.
Collectively, the cancellations represent millions of pounds in lost revenue, and though there is a chance games will still be played, the uncertainty surrounding how the season will finish means they cannot count on it.
As such, The Telegraph report that all non-first-team staff will be put into furlough, and have been asked to apply to the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to claim back 80% of their income up to £2,500.
The news was confirmed in an email sent to staff by managing director Lee Charnley on Monday morning and applies to all scouting and academy staff, with only those working with the first team players exempt from the cuts.
The cuts are designed to offset the losses the business is expected to make while football remains on pause, and The Telegraph note that Newcastle are not likely to be the last top-level club this week to make such an announcement.
Lee Ryder reports #NUFC owner, Mike Ashley has placed the majority of club staff on Furlough leave, as of this morning.— Newcastle Fans TV (@NewcastleFansTV) March 30, 2020
These include members of the Scouting team, the academy, and workers of the @NU_Foundation
They were told via email that it was to “safeguard the clubs future” pic.twitter.com/FUgrfz8Ptw
They also claim that the current plan for 'the majority of clubs' is to resume training in the middle of April, working towards the Premier League's current target of concluding the season by 1 June - though there is understandable scepticism as to the logistics of that.
One solution under consideration came to light earlier on Monday, and involves a 'World Cup' style tournament which would see clubs base themselves in 'isolated camps' and play out the remaining fixtures over a short space of time.
Source : 90min