Newcastle become first Premier League club to put staff on coronavirus furlough leave

Newcastle have placed the majority of non-playing staff on furlough leave to ‘safeguard the future of the club’. Managing director Lee Charnley informed those affected this morning via email. Newcastle have become the first Premier League club to use the government’s coronavirus initiative, which sees them pick up the bill for 80 per cent of salaries up to a maximum of £2,500 each month.

Academy staff, as well as members of the media and scouting departments are thought to be affected.

However Steve Bruce and his coaching staff are not included, nor are the players.

Some clubs in the Football League have already adopted this approach but Newcastle are thought to be the first in the top flight as the country deals with the coronavirus pandemic.

Football in England is suspended until at least April 30, although it is not expected to return until well after that date, while some clubs are pushing for the season to be null and void.

Newcastle remain in a battle for survival in the Premier League and sit 13th with nine games to go, but they are only eight points above Bournemouth who fill the third relegation spot.

What is furlough? How you can claim money from the government

Newcastle have won just one of their last five games and still have to play Manchester City away and Liverpool and Tottenham at home.

Newcastle have also been linked with a Saudi takeover, which the Telegraph reported had moved a step closer today.

But it is thought the Premier League are yet to hear from any of the parties involved in the deal.

Meanwhile a handful of players have been speaking about how they’ve filled their time at home during the UK’s lockdown.

“Apart from training, I play video games with my friends in Paraguay – FIFA online,” Miguel Almiron said. “I watch movies with my wife, we play board games to pass the time, and I help her in the kitchen.”

Paul Dummet has been working on his injury recover, and he said: “At the moment I’m doing my rehab with the physio but as we can’t use the training ground, I’m doing running through Jesmond Dene and making the most of what I can.

“It’s a pretty important window for my rehabilitation because if I don’t do the work required then I may have longer-term deficits.

“Other than that, in my spare time I’m mostly at home by myself, watching some TV or spending some time with my family, but trying to minimise that to reduce the risk of infection.”

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