Much has been made in the media over the last few weeks about how the current COVID-19 health crisis is and will affect football in the UK for the foreseeable future. What is beyond doubt, is that there are no clear answers yet, either in terms of when football will resume or under what conditions. The Chairman and Board of Directors have been working hard since we announced the furlough of non-playing staff to understand impacts on players, work through the various scenarios and talk regularly to both the EFL and PFA. The aim being to ensure we are taking advantage of all the help available and pulling on the know-how and resources of everyone grappling with this problem. It was hoped that through this process a collective agreement for League One and Two clubs could be reached. However, this has to date not been achieved.
The Oldham Athletic players will be paid their full March salaries, but with income vastly reduced and no dates for resumption of football, we must limit our outgoings. In order to safeguard the future of the Club, we have therefore had to take the very difficult decision of furloughing our playing staff. All players have been spoken to individually and as a group to explain the reasoning and how we’ll work with them on the resumption of football to return to normality as quickly as possible. Players can decide whether to accept the furlough and should they do so, they’ll receive the full level of Government support and their contracts will remain in place. In the unfortunate instance that furlough is rejected, normal employment practice decrees that they are placed at risk of redundancy. We must stress that this is a last resort and we are continuing discussions with all players and their agents to avoid this outcome for any player.
The furlough term and process is becoming common terminology now, with so many across the country experiencing this first-hand. It is designed to protect businesses and staff through this unprecedented shock to the economy. Oldham Athletic must utilise the scheme fully or risk all the work over the previous months to resolve the ownership rights being fatally undermined. We commit to fully updating the fans with the final outcome of the player talks when we have clarity and they are complete. We will not, though, be commenting on media reports of our actions or those of other clubs. It simply remains to wish all our supporters well in these difficult times and if the Club can help in any way please do get in touch.