Manager Gary Johnson has praised the ‘team spirit’ of his Torquay United players after they all accepted a 20 per cent pay cut and were placed in ‘furlough’.

Many lower division clubs, which rely heavily on gate receipts, have taken similar steps in the face of the current indefinite suspension of action.

Johnson revealed: “It was definitely a request by the club, not an ultimatum.

“Once the lads had got to grips with what it all means, it was a unanimous decision to help the club through this difficult period, for a short period of time we hope.

“The club has been good to us when we have needed them, and that’s true of many of the players here.

“It’s a testament to the solidarity of our football club, and the humble way they have handled this situation, that all the players reacted the way they did.”

United’s CEO George 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.”

Johnson revealed that 12 of his 17 senior players are out of contract on May 2 and said: “Obviously you can’t talk about new contracts yet, so there’s a lot of people in precarious positions in all of football.

“We talk about Premier League boys who can be out of contract and still be very wealthy men. At our level, they may not be destitute, but they earn working man’s wages. Hopefully, our lads’ team spirit over the last couple of seasons, has now shown itself off the field in this crisis.”

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. Unfortunately, there is still no decision on the completion of this season.”

As well as their 17 contracted players, United have six on loan from Premier League (AFC Bournemouth) and Championship (Bristol City, Swansea City) clubs.