Chelsea first-team players asked to support 'charitable causes'

First-team players at Chelsea have not been asked to take a pay cut, with the club instead urging them to back charities.

Chelsea will continue to pay its staff as normal, despite not opting for the U.K. government's furlough job retention scheme.   -  Getty Images

Chelsea's first-team squad has been asked to support "charitable causes" instead of contributing to the club financially during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Premier League has been on hiatus due to the COVID-19 crisis for well over a month and the situation is impacting clubs' finances due to a lack of gate receipts and other matchday revenues.

Some clubs opted to make the most of the United Kingdom government's furlough job retention scheme that would have seen the state pay up to 80 per cent of workers' wages, up to a maximum of GBP 2,500 per month.

However, of the clubs to take that option, only Norwich City and Newcastle United have not reversed their decision, with Liverpool, Tottenham and Bournemouth making U-turns. As an alternative to state support, across Europe many clubs have agreed to temporary wage cuts or deferrals with their players.

'Extensive talks'

But Chelsea – which is owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich – is not going down either route, confirming it will continue to pay staff as normal, while the players have been directed to back charities instead of supporting the club financially.

With respect to the playing staff, Chelsea's statement read: "Representatives of the Chelsea board have recently held extensive talks with the men's first-team to discuss how they can contribute financially to the club during the coronavirus crisis.

"The objective of these talks has been to find a meaningful partnership around ensuring we preserve jobs for staff, compensate fans and participate in activities for good causes.

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"We are grateful to the team for having played their role in assisting the club with community activities as well as all the charitable causes they have been supporting in their respective home countries and through the Players Together initiative supporting the NHS [National Health Service].

"At this time, the men's first-team will not be contributing towards the club financially and instead the board have directed the team to focus their efforts on further supporting other charitable causes.

"As this crisis develops the club will continue to have conversations with the men's first-team regarding financial contributions to the club's activities."

No furloughs

It added: "The club can confirm we will not be taking advantage of the government's current Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which runs to June 30. We are not planning any general redundancies or furloughs for our full-time staff, who are continuing to be paid 100 per cent of their current wages.

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"Casual workers and matchday staff employed by the club are being compensated by us through June 30 as if matches had been played and we had been operating as normal.

"We are continuing our current level of financial and other support to our professional women players and also to our women's academy programmes.

"Our women's team and staff have been very supportive of our charitable activities during this crisis which has been appreciated by both the club and the respective charities."

The United Kingdom has confirmed 143,464 cases of COVID-19 infections, with 19,506 deaths.

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