Reading make controversial decision to place some of their Under-23 squad on government’s furlough scheme as Championship clubs count the cost of the coronavirus crisis
- Reading will use tax payer cash to pay some of members of their Under-23 squad
- The decision will affect those players who are less likely to play for the first team
- Manager Mark Bowen is among the senior staff to have accepted a wage deferral
- The coronavirus crisis is continuing to hit the finances of clubs at all levels
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Reading will put some of their Under-23 squad on furlough, Sportsmail has learned, as clubs continue to count the cost of the coronavirus crisis.
With football on hold for the foreseeable future, the Championship club will take the controversial step of using the scheme, which sees the government pay 80 per cent of wages – up to £2,500 per month – of workers put on temporary leave.
A percentage of Reading’s U23 squad will be affected, understood to be those who are less likely to be involved with the first team.
Reading have placed some of their Ender-23 squad on the government’s furlough scheme
WHAT DOES FURLOUGH MEAN?
When an employee is placed on furlough they are temporarily put on a leave of absence and not paid, although they remain on the payroll, meaning that they do not lose their job.
This could be because there is no work for these employees, or that the company is not able to afford to pay them, because of the effects of the coronavirus crisis.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will last for at least three months from March 1.
With the return of English football still up in the air, it’s unclear how long they will be on the scheme.
Some non-playing staff have already been placed on furlough, while chief executive Nigel Howe, manager Mark Bowen, his assistant Eddie Niedzwiecki and a number of senior non-playing staff have already deferred ‘a substantial percentage’ of their salary for April, May and June in a bid to ease cash-flow problems.
Earlier this month the club also began discussions with their first-team squad over wage deferrals. No agreement has since been announced but Bowen said: ‘Be in no doubt, the players are going to do their own thing.’
As revealed by Sportsmail earlier this month, the Covid-19 shutdown poses a huge threat to clubs in the second tier, where collective losses last season totalled £650million.
Reading were understood be among the most the vulnerable teams after their usual income streams all but dried up.
Reading boss Mark Bowen is one of a number of senior staff to agree to a pay deferral
Championship sides are heavily reliant on money from matchday, which has disappeared following the suspension of the season.
Some could soon struggle to pay salaries unless players agree to wage cuts or deferrals.
As many as half of the 24 teams are believed to be in advanced talks over percentage deferrals, with Sportsmail reporting this week that there is growing optimism agreements will be reached in the coming days. Reading, meanwhile, will cut costs by asking the government to pay some of their young players.
Liverpool and Tottenham are among the clubs who have reversed their decision to use the scheme following backlash among supporters.