First team players at Reading Football Club have generously agreed to defer a substantial percentage of their salary for May, June and July to help the club’s cash flow situation during the current coronavirus crisis.
The COVID-19 crisis continues to inflict widespread disruption to football, business and normal everyday life throughout the UK - and our club, like all others, is striving to successfully navigate its way through the implications this virus is having on our operation. Members of our first team squad have recognised the severe impact this crisis is making within the world of football and have offered to defer a significant percentage of their monthly wage for the next three months.
A number of weeks ago, CEO Nigel Howe, Manager Mark Bowen, Assistant Manager Eddie Niedzwiecki and a number of other senior staff volunteered to defer a proportion of their salary for three months and we are very pleased that, following naturally complex negotiations with our first team players, a similar agreement has been reached.
“I’m delighted we have come to an agreement on salary deferments,” said club captain Liam Moore. “These are very testing times for our club at present, much like every other club up and down the country. However, with an owner like ours, who continues to support us as players and has pumped a lot of money into the club, we felt that this was the least we could do as we all try to get through the challenges that the coming weeks and months will present us with.
“It is important to mention that this has taken a little bit of time, but it was important we ensured it was right for every individual concerned. It was my job as captain to make sure each player who entered into the agreement felt 100% comfortable in what they were signing up to.
“I want to say a big thank you to the PFA who have had a lot of conversations with us and have been very supportive in getting us all to where we needed to be. And I must also thank Nigel Howe; it’s great to have a relationship with the CEO where you can pick up the phone and ask him anything and his hard work has helped us come to an agreement that is best for this football club.
“Hopefully sooner rather than later we can be back out on the football pitch, playing for you and pushing forward together.”
This week, the squad and coaching staff have returned to Bearwood Park to resume training – although every precaution is being taken to ensure this small step is a safe one for all concerned. Regular COVID-19 testing, staggered arrivals and start times, socially-distanced non-contact sessions conducted within small groups and with restricted numbers of staff on site – we’re all delighted to see football return but life is certainly not yet back to normal.
And we will continue to protect the players, support our staff and safeguard the club’s future during what is an incredibly troubling time for so many in the sports industry.