Newcastle become first Premier League club to put staff on furlough

As talk of a £340m Saudi Arabian takeover was revived, Newcastle became the first Premier League club to put all non-first-team staff on furlough.

Employees received emails from the managing director, Lee Charnley, on Monday explaining that football’s enforced shutdown dictated they would need to apply to the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme, which allows staff to claim 80% of their wages, to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

This includes scouts, academy coaches and workers at the club’s foundation charity and was said to have been initiated to ensure the club’s survival at a time when its cashflow is suffering from the lack of £1m-plus gate receipts from home matches.

Although other Premier League clubs are also believed to be considering placing employees on furlough, the Championship leaders, Leeds, have pledged to keep paying the wages of all non-playing staff and casual workers after first-team players and executives agreed to take sizeable wage deferrals to preserve the full incomes of less well remunerated colleagues.

Newcastle employees received Charnley’s email as it emerged the Premier League has been formally informed that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is attempting to buy out the club’s owner, Mike Ashley.

The sovereign wealth fund would assume an 80% stake with a 10% holding taken by Amanda Staveley’s Dubai-based PCP Capital and the remainder covered by Reuben Brothers, one of Britain’s wealthiest families, whose £18bn property and investment portfolio includes Newcastle racecourse.

Should the Premier League receive paperwork from Ashley stating he wants to sell Newcastle to the consortium it would initiate the “fit and proper persons test” applied to prospective owners and ensure the funds were in place.

The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email.

Although Newcastle have declined to comment it is understood Ashley has yet to contact the governing body. If – and it remains a big if – he does so, the test would take at least a month, possibly longer given the logistical difficulties prompted by the pandemic.

It is understood that last summer the Premier League received paperwork relating to a proposed bid by the United Arab Emirates-based Bin Zayed Group to buy Newcastle but Ashley never submitted documentation signalling an intention to sell.

Contributor

Louise Taylor

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Premier League players may be willing to pay wages of club staff, says PFA
Premier League players may be willing to pay the wages of their non-playing colleagues, if their clubs can show a genuine need for them to do so, the PFA has signalled

David Conn and Paul MacInnes

02, Apr, 2020 @8:06 PM

Article image
Daniel Levy calls on Premier League managers and players to take pay cuts
Tottenham have reduced the wages of their 550 non-football staff by 20% in response to the coronavirus crisis

Jacob Steinberg

31, Mar, 2020 @11:19 AM

Article image
Pay cuts, furlough or deferrals: what are the Premier League clubs doing?
From Arsenal to Wolves, we look at what the clubs are doing regarding pay for players, non-playing staff and casual staff

Guardian sport

02, Apr, 2020 @11:00 AM

Article image
Premier League chief defends clubs' 'restraint' in their furloughing of staff
The chief executive of the Premier League, Richard Masters, has defended the furloughing of staff, claiming clubs have been acting with restraint

Paul MacInnes and Jacob Steinberg

07, Apr, 2020 @6:20 PM

Article image
January transfer window: club-by-club guide for the Premier League
The winter transfer window opens on 1 January with most of the 20 clubs desperate to make signings that can shape their season. Here we look at the players they hope will arrive in the next month

Guardian sport

31, Dec, 2017 @11:47 AM

Article image
Premier League finances: the full club-by-club breakdown and verdict
Assessing the accounts of 2014-15’s top-flight clubs – and what the figures say about their financial health

David Conn

25, May, 2016 @7:51 PM

Article image
Premier League finances: the full club-by-club breakdown and verdict
Club accounts for 2017-18 show Manchester United spent the most on wages while champions Manchester City had the third-highest bill

David Conn

22, May, 2019 @6:41 PM

Article image
Summer transfer window: club-by-club guide for the Premier League
With just weeks until the big kick-off Arsenal, Liverpool and West Ham have been among the biggest spenders

Simon Burnton, Jacob Steinberg, Paul Wilson, Nick Ames, Andy Hunter, Louise Taylor and Jamie Jackson

22, Jul, 2018 @8:00 PM

Article image
Premier League chairman to resign after Newcastle takeover controversy
Gary Hoffman has been in the role for only 18 months, but an unofficial vote of confidence has led to more than half of Premier League chairmen calling for his removal

Paul MacInnes and David Hytner

16, Nov, 2021 @8:59 PM

Article image
Premier League transfers club by club: done deals, targets and likely departures
Who has signed whom? Who wants what? Who could be leaving? Your guide to every team in England’s top flight as the transfer window hots up

Guardian sport

05, Jul, 2017 @8:56 AM