Sunderland AFC explain why small number of staff have been taken off furlough leave

Sunderland AFC has explained why a small number of staff have been taken off furlough leave.

Tuesday, 21st April 2020, 1:02 pm

The Black Cats have been one of a number of clubs - particularly in Leagues One and Two - to take advantage of the scheme, which sees staff placed on furlough leave with the Government contributing 80 per cent of wages and SAFC topping up the rest.

Earlier this month Sunderland announced all players and backroom staff, as well as academy-contracted players, had been placed on furlough.

Manager Phil Parkinson was not placed on furlough leave and continued to work from home.

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Phil Parkinson.

The Echo understands that three academy staff members have now been taken off furlough and returned to work, including Paul Reid (Academy Manager), Don Peattie (Head of Education and Welfare), Lewis Dickman (Head of Coaching).

A club spokesman confirmed: “Sunderland AFC’s first-team staff remain on furlough leave, with the exception of manager Phil Parkinson who continues to work from home.

“A small number of academy staff have returned to work after the lockdown was extended to ensure player well-being, safeguarding and a duty of care is maintained.”

It was originally reported Nick Allamby (physical performance coach) had also returned to work but he remains on furlough leave with the rest of the backroom staff.

League One fixtures have been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak and, as of yet, it is not known when - or if - the current campaign will resume, with all staff working from home.

The government’s jobs retention scheme sees the cost of 80% of wages covered, up to £2,500 a month, with SAFC pledging to top up the rest.

Earlier this month, Stewart Donald published a letter explaining the decision to furlough players and backroom staff: “Our priority remains the health and welfare of all associated with Sunderland AFC.

“We are continuing to work hard behind the scenes, with a focus on trying to reduce the financial impact and ensure jobs remain secure.

“We are also looking at many different ways to support the wider community

“On Tuesday [April 7], we announced that our players and backroom staff had been furloughed.

“They join a number of other members of our non-playing staff, who we had already furloughed, in using the Governments’ Job Retention Scheme.

“We believe it is the best course of action for the club at this time.

“We will also continue to look at the suitability of all options being made available to businesses during this unprecedented period. We are not alone in this process, and this is an extremely challenging time for every club outside the Premier League.”