TORQUAY United have become the latest lower-division club to place their entire staff, including players and management, under ‘furlough’ in the face of the indefinite virus-enforced suspension of the current season.
Those football personnel have also agreed to take a 20 per cent drop in salary.
The Gulls had already furloughed their non-football staff but on Monday evening the club’s chief executive officer George Edwards announced that manager Gary Johnson, his support staff and all 17 contracted players were joining them.
United also have six other players on loan from Premier League (AFC Bournemouth) and Championship (Bristol City, Swansea City) clubs.
Edwards announced: “With the club having no fixtures for the foreseeable future, and no ability to train or coach, Gary Johnson, his coaching team and all football players have agreed to enter into the Government Job Retention Scheme and to accept a reduction of 20 per cent in their salary.
“We are very grateful that we have a team at Torquay United that understand the difficulties placed on the club during these unprecedented times.
“It is a credit to them all that they didn’t hesitate to show their support and commitment to our club.
“I would like to put on record my thanks to every member of this great team.”
Edwards stated: “Whatever the decision regarding the conclusion or cancellation of this season, I know everyone associated with this football club are determined to take us back to the Football League.
“In the coming months we all have a new role to play and new battles to fight, and I know everyone at the club is determined to help the club and to help our communities wherever we can.
“Torquay United is more than a football club, we are a family.”
Edwards reported that he is in regular contact with National League CEO Mike Tattersall and the Football Association, but stressed: “Unfortunately, there is still no decision on the completion of this season.
“We have and will continue to lobby for a decision, and the publication of an operating procedure to implement.”
He also added: “At this very difficult time in all our lives, there is nothing more important than a human life, so please be careful, stay at home, protect the NHS and stay safe.
“We will win through, and see football resume and you will see your club win again and again.”