Reading Football Club can confirm that Chief Executive Nigel Howe and First Team Manager Mark Bowen have offered to defer a substantial percentage of their salary for April, May and June to help the club’s cash flow situation during the current coronavirus crisis.
Howe and Bowen are joined by a number of other senior non-playing staff who have volunteered to delay a substantial part of their monthly income for the next three months as the club strives to protect its future and navigate its way through the temporary suspension of football.
Like all football clubs, we are trying to deal with the implications that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our operation. And we began to discuss potential wage deferral measures with our squad of first team players last week. This open dialogue is ongoing and we remain hopeful that a suitable agreement will soon be reached as, together, we look to establish ways to help protect the club’s future during what is a difficult time for so many in the sports industry.
No business, large or small, can consider itself immune to the impact of this pandemic. At Reading, a number of non-playing staff have been placed on furlough and the majority of other staff are now working from home. The Ticket Office and Fanstore are closed, although we continue to process online merchandise orders via reduced staffing levels at our warehouse. Access to our Hogwood Park training facility has entirely ceased and activities at Madejski Stadium have been restricted to only those considered absolutely essential. These measures will continue to be under constant review as the circumstances dictate and we will endeavour to keep our fans updated with any developments via our official website and the club’s social media platforms.
We are very proud that Nigel, Mark and a number of senior level staff, including Assistant Manager Eddie Niedzwiecki, have volunteered to defer significant percentages of their salary – a selfless and commendable commitment which will help ensure jobs are retained at the club during this unforeseen and still unpredictable hiatus in football.
We all desperately want football back. As soon as possible.
But, for now, our focus has to be on taking the necessary measures to manage the issues our club is facing during this global crisis.
And, of course, it is also our responsibility to take this opportunity to echo the message to our staff and supporters - stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives.