Coronavirus: Six Oldham Athletic players refuse club's furlough offer

Oldham: "Players can decide whether to accept the furlough...In the unfortunate instance that furlough is rejected, normal employment practice decrees that they are placed at risk of redundancy"

12 Aug 2000: General view of the stadium before the Nationwide League Division Two match between Oldham Athletic and Port Vale at Boundary Park in Oldham, England. Picture by Gary Benson. \ Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK /Allsport
Image: Oldham have become the latest club to furlough their staff

Six Oldham players are at risk of redundancy after refusing the furlough agreement offered to them by the club.

The Latics have confirmed they will pay their players in full for March but with income drastically reduced due to the coronavirus pandemic, they have been forced to utilise the scheme that means government will pay 80 per cent of an individual's wages, up to £2,500 per month.

Oldham, who were 19th in Sky Bet League Two before the division was suspended, had already taken the decision to furlough non-playing staff, with the majority of players, plus the management team, also now agreeing to be furloughed.

As is their right, six senior players have opted not to take up the furlough offer.

That leaves them a risk of redundancy, although the club were keen to stress that is a "last resort and we are continuing discussions with all players and their agents to avoid this outcome for any player".

Oldham said: "The Chairman and Board of Directors have been working hard since we announced the furlough of non-playing staff to understand impacts on players, work through the various scenarios and talk regularly to both the EFL and PFA.

"The aim being to ensure we are taking advantage of all the help available and pulling on the know-how and resources of everyone grappling with this problem. It was hoped that through this process a collective agreement for League One and League Two clubs could be reached. However, this has to date not been achieved.

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"The Oldham players will be paid their full March salaries, but with income vastly reduced and no dates for resumption of football, we must limit our outgoings.

"In order to safeguard the future of the club, we have therefore had to take the very difficult decision of furloughing our playing staff.

"All players have been spoken to individually and as a group to explain the reasoning and how we'll work with them on the resumption of football to return to normality as quickly as possible.

"Players can decide whether to accept the furlough and should they do so, they'll receive the full level of Government support and their contracts will remain in place.

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"In the unfortunate instance that furlough is rejected, normal employment practice decrees that they are placed at risk of redundancy. We must stress that this is a last resort and we are continuing discussions with all players and their agents to avoid this outcome for any player.

"The furlough term and process is becoming common terminology now, with so many across the country experiencing this first-hand. It is designed to protect businesses and staff through this unprecedented shock to the economy.

"Oldham Football Club must utilise the scheme fully or risk all the work over the previous months to resolve the ownership rights being fatally undermined.

"We commit to fully updating the fans with the final outcome of the player talks when we have clarity and they are complete. We will not, though, be commenting on media reports of our actions or those of other clubs."

Liverpool, Tottenham and Bournemouth all initially planned to furlough non-playing staff before deciding against it.

Newcastle have furloughed the majority of their non-playing staff, while Norwich have opted to furlough all of their non-playing staff, although the Canaries are topping up their staff's pay to 100 per cent.

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