Brighton, Swansea and Huddersfield staff agree wage deferrals

Senior staff at Brighton, Swansea and Huddersfield have agreed to take wage deferrals in an attempt to ease the financial uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Brighton’s deputy chairman and chief executive Paul Barber, technical director Dan Ashworth and head coach Graham Potter have each taken a significant voluntary pay cut for the next three months.

Barber has confirmed the trio have taken a reduction in their salary for the months of April, May and June, in order to support chairman Tony Bloom’s “significant efforts to protect all jobs at our club and charity”.

Swansea boss Steve Cooper and chairman Trevor Birch have both agreed to take wage deferrals, with the club expected to confirm more cases applying to other senior members of staff this month.

The board of directors and senior management team at fellow Championship side Huddersfield have also volunteered to take a salary deferral for the next two months.

The move by Cooper and Birch comes after Swansea confirmed this week it was asking the majority of non-playing staff who will not be undertaking work at the club to be placed on furlough leave under the government’s job retention scheme to protect jobs during the crisis.

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The scheme provides for 80 per cent of the employees’ wages to be covered by a government grant and the club has made the decision to top up the remaining 20 per cent.

Those staff on zero hours contracts will also be placed on the scheme and receive their full average pay based on three months of earning since January, while casual match day staff is currently being reviewed after the remaining four fixtures of the regular season were postponed.

Staff will be on furlough leave for a minimum of three weeks under the government scheme. They will not be allowed to work for the club during this period but can be recalled to work following notice if required. They will continue to receive normal benefits such as pension contributions.

Swansea chairman Birch told the club’s official website: “In these difficult circumstances we as a club are doing our bit to support the wider community and assist those doing such great work in the NHS, emergency services, voluntary, food and medical sectors, including offering the stadium to the emergency services.

“However, because of the uncertainty surrounding the re-starting of the season and its financial implications, we will also need to do all we can to protect the financial integrity of the club.

“We need to give ourselves the best prospect of emerging from this crisis intact with all our workforce still in jobs and the club remaining a viable business going forwards.

“As such, we have had to identify the majority of our non-playing staff for furlough, which will mean that they will not undertake any work but will still receive their full salary. While the government will provide a grant of 80 per cent of the salary for the immediate future, this amount will be topped up by the club to 100 per cent of their existing salary.

“These are obviously very difficult times for us all and we are working hard to safeguard all staff through this difficult period. Staff are important to us as people as well as employees. But we also have to take measures that ensure we emerge from this crisis not only physically intact but also financially safe.

“The players are willing and will be doing their bit to protect the club too. In this regard, ongoing discussions are taking place with the EFL and the PFA along with other Championship clubs where it is hoped there will be a collective agreement reached.

“In the meantime, the manager and myself thought it was important to take a lead in these uncertain times and have agreed to defer a substantial amount of our wages going forward. Everyone has to play their part in helping to secure the future of this football club and its loyal staff.”

Swansea boss Cooper added: “Everyone has to pull together during these difficult times in the hope that we can come through it as unscathed as possible.

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