Sunderland AFC extend furlough scheme for staff and players - but will no longer top-up staff salaries
Sunderland have informed staff that the club will be extending the furlough scheme through July and August, and that they will no longer be having their salaries topped up to the full amount.
The Black Cats placed a large number of staff on the Government's Job Retention Scheme at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis in April, with players and backroom staff shortly following suit.
The scheme sees the government pay 80% of salaries directly in order to aid businesses throughout the current uncertainty.
It is then up to businesses individually to decide whether or not they will top up the remainder of their staff's salaries.
Sunderland initially opted to do so, with Stewart Donald writing in an open letter that "it is no secret that our non-playing staff have been through an incredible amount over the last few years.
"Despite countless redundancies and minimal job security, they have worked tirelessly for the good of the club and each other.
"They have made a huge difference in turning around the club’s finances, so it is only right that we have taken the decision to ensure all staff affected by the furlough process will receive full pay.
"Their hard work, dedication and understanding continues to drive the club forward."
A small number of staff have continued working throughout the current period, while some have also been brought back to work to deal with issues such as season cards.
Many, though, remain on the scheme and have today received letters telling them that this will be extended through to the end of August.
This includes Sunderland's playing staff, though it is not clear at this stage whether they will also be now paid 80% of their salary.
They can of course, alongside all other staff, be recalled at relatively short notice.
This is likely to be the case should the EFL opt to try and begin a new season in September, as many hope will be the case.
In April, Donald said there were no plans to ask for salary cuts or deferrals from players.
He wrote: "Our players have also been through a lot. Promotion was our aim last year and we ultimately fell short, but they gave everything.
"Last season’s heartbreak has only strengthened their desire to bring success to our club. Had they been on the wages of years gone by, it would have been right of me to ask them to contribute, but they are not.
"They will also be affected by the pandemic. We had two unbudgeted Wembley appearances last season and we will use these funds to ensure that like their colleagues, they do not suffer at this time."