Derby County have placed around 120 non-playing staff on furlough as clubs continue to take drastic action to survive the football shut down.
Stoke City have committed to paying match day staff for postponed games this season – and told employees they will be paid with no job losses over an uncertain summer.
But a sudden cash flow crisis means the sport has not escaped the severe difficulties faced by the majority of the economy.
Five clubs in the Premier League – Liverpool, Tottenham, Newcastle United, Norwich City and Bournemouth – are furloughing non-playing staff and Derby join Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship.
It is being reported by the Daily Telegraph that staff will receive 80 per cent of their salary through the government’s job retention scheme, but it is understood Derby are not making up the difference.
Derby are, however expected to announce a major initiative to support the local community and staff, backed by manager Phillip Cocu and first-team players.
Derby are also understood to be discussing wage reductions with their players and the Professional Footballers’ Association, with the season on hold indefinitely.
In his column in The Sunday Times, Derby captain Wayne Rooney said: “The first thing to say is that if Derby County needed me to take a pay cut to save the club I would understand and look to support them in whatever way I could.
“And if the government approached me to help support nurses financially or buy ventilators I’d be proud to do so — as long as I knew where the money was going.
“But I’m not every player. I’m 34, I’ve had a long career and I’ve earned well. I’m in a place where I could give something up. Not every footballer is in the same position. Yet suddenly the whole profession has been put on the spot with a demand for 30 per cent pay cuts across the board. Why are footballers suddenly the scapegoats?”
Rooney has not been impressed by footballers being singled out by high-ranking ministers.
“How the past few days have played out is a disgrace,” he said.
“First, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, in his daily update on coronavirus, said that Premier League players should take a pay cut.
“He was supposed to be giving the nation the latest on the biggest crisis we’ve faced in our lifetimes. Why was the pay of footballers even in his head? Was he desperate to divert attention from his government’s handling of this pandemic?
“The Premier League then announced it was looking for its players to give up or defer wages by 30 per cent.
“This despite owners and the Premier League board knowing players were already deep in discussion about what their contribution should be.
“It seemed strange to me because every other decision in this process has been kept behind closed doors, but this had to be announced publicly. Why?
“It feels as if it’s to shame the players — to force them into a corner where they have to pick up the bill for lost revenue.
“I get that players are well paid and could give up money. But this should be getting done on a case-by-case basis. Becoming targets like this I feel is wrong. I’m worried for some of the players, especially the young ones.
“The pressure put on them is not acceptable and I need to speak up for them.”