‘Selfless act’ – Coates family ensures Stoke City staff will be paid despite football shutdown



Stoke City match day staff have been told they will be paid despite games being postponed and full-time staff will have salaries guaranteed for the next five months.

Turnstile operators were among the part-time workers who received letters from the club on Thursday to confirm they would still receive wages for four home matches which have already been called off.

At the moment, Championship football is on hold until at least April 30 due to the coronavirus but there is widespread recognition that the break could go on much longer.

The virus is affecting every industry and businesses large and small are waiting to hear how they will receive support from the Government.

But the Coates family, which owns and run Etruria-based bet365 and Stoke City, have already made the decision that there will be no job losses over the next five uncertain months.

Angela Smith, chairwoman of Stoke City fans’ council, praised the decision.

She said: “The owners of the football club and bet365 have taken a massive decision to pay staff in very difficult times. It is unprecedented situation. I don’t know how many companies will do the same and at this minute in time when people are struggling and worried, it is a fantastic gesture.

“There are people in the world who can afford to do something like this but do not.

“A lot of people don’t realise how much the Coates family gives to this city, not only as the largest employer but also donating time and money to charities. Without them the Potteries would be a much poorer place. We owe them a debt of gratitude.

“bet365 are possibly going to struggle as much if not more than many businesses because there’s very little sport to bet on unless they are going to take bets on marble racing down a hill in Bucknall.

“This is a selfless act. I don’t think too many people will have expected that statement and it will have come as a major relief.

“I’m very proud to support Stoke City.”

Peter Coates, the Stoke chairman, has been clear that the gambling industry, like the rest of society, is navigating through the unknown.

But a spokesperson for bet365 said: “In times of uncertainty is was essential that we reassured our people of the commitment we have to them and the wider community.

“They have been instrumental in our success and will continue to be so throughout these troubling times and beyond, when normality will inevitably be restored.”





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