I would like to start by sending my best wishes to everyone associated with our club. This awful pandemic has had an incredibly challenging impact on all of our lives, but together, we will come through it.
At the club, that impact is being felt by management, players, staff and supporters alike. 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, 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. We wish them all the best of luck.
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.
Likewise, 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.
I hope our fans can see that the conclusions we have drawn are fair and in line with where our club finds itself today. These decisions have all been made with the best intentions.
As we continue to support our fans, we are looking into what we can do to help the wider community, while also ensuring that the club can meet all its obligations despite the absence of football. If this awful virus and lockdown persists, we are well placed financially, but we will continue to evaluate all options to ensure the club remains in the strongest position possible.
We look forward to games resuming when it is safe and appropriate to do so, but for now, we have delayed our season card deadlines. This cashflow impact can be absorbed and we will review the deadlines set as time progresses.
I would like to conclude by thanking everyone for their understanding and support in these unprecedented times.
I look forward to the day I can welcome you all back to the Stadium of Light, but for now, remember to follow government advice and support each other.
Together, we will come through this.