Sunderland place first-team squad, academy players and backroom staff on furlough leave

League One side Sunderland AFC have announced that its first-team players, contracted academy players and backroom staff have all been placed on furlough leave as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The club plan to ensure those affected will be paid in full.

They will use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which will see the government pay 80 per cent of a furloughed employee’s wages capped at £2,500.

Sunderland will then make up the shortfall.

A club statement read: “Sunderland AFC can today confirm that its first-team players, contracted academy players and backroom staff have recently been placed on furlough leave due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Last week, the FA, the Premier League and the EFL announced they would be collectively postponing their competitions until such time that it is safe for them to resume.

“At this moment in time, SAFC has no intention to ask any players or staff to take a wage reduction or deferral on their salary, and the club remains fully committed to ensuring all employees are paid in full.

“A small number of staff, including manager Phil Parkinson, continue to work from home, and the club’s priority remains the health and wellbeing of its players, staff, supporters and local community during this unprecedented period.”

The scheme has been used by Premier League clubs including Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United and Norwich City.

Liverpool announced plans to furlough their non-playing staff until they performed a U-turn following widespread criticism from fans and former players, including Jamie Carragher and Dietmar Hamann.

The situation is more perilous in the lower leagues, though, where clubs don’t make as much money as Premier League sides.

League Two outfit Crewe Alexandra have furloughed players and backroom staff, writing in a statement: “In light of the current Coronavirus pandemic, and the suspension of all professional football, the Club is having to respond to the economic pressures it faces. Consequently, the Club has taken the decision to ‘furlough’ its staff and players.

“This decision has been made in order to protect the long-term financial viability of the Football Club in what are unprecedented times.”

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