Trevor Birch and Steve Cooper agree wage deferrals

1st April 2020
Head coach Steve Cooper speaks with chairman Trevor Birch.

Swansea City head coach Steve Cooper and chairman Trevor Birch have both voluntarily agreed to significant wage deferrals in a bid to ease the financial uncertainty surrounding the current Coronavirus pandemic.

The club is also expected to confirm further wage deferrals by other senior members of staff this month but both men thought it was appropriate they led the way.

The move comes after the club confirmed this week that it was asking the majority of non-playing staff who will not be undertaking work at the club to be placed on furlough leave under the Government’s job retention scheme to protect jobs during the crisis. The scheme provides for 80 per cent of the employees’ wages to be covered by a government grant and the club has made the decision to top up the remaining 20 per cent.

Those staff on zero hours contracts will also be placed on the scheme and receive their full average pay based on three months of earning since January, while casual match day staff is currently being reviewed after the remaining four fixtures of the regular season were postponed.

Staff will be on furlough leave for a minimum of three weeks under the government scheme. They will not be allowed to work for the club during this period but can be recalled to work following notice if required. They will continue to receive normal benefits such as pension contributions.

Swansea City chairman Trevor Birch said: “In these difficult circumstances we as a club are doing our bit to support the wider community and assist those doing such great work in the NHS, emergency services, voluntary, food and medical sectors, including offering the stadium to the emergency services.
“However, because of the uncertainty surrounding the re-starting of the season and its financial implications, we will also need to do all we can to protect the financial integrity of the club.

“We need to give ourselves the best prospect of emerging from this crisis intact with all our workforce still in jobs and the club remaining a viable business going forwards.
“As such, we have had to identify the majority of our non-playing staff for furlough, which will mean that they will not undertake any work but will still receive their full salary. While the Government will provide a grant of 80 per cent of the salary for the immediate future, this amount will be topped up by the club to 100 per cent of their existing salary.
“These are obviously very difficult times for us all and we are working hard to safeguard all staff through this difficult period. Staff are important to us as people as well as employees. But we also have to take measures that ensure we emerge from this crisis not only physically intact but also financially safe.

“The players are willing and will be doing their bit to protect the club too. In this regard ongoing discussions are taking place with the EFL and the PFA along with other Championship clubs where it is hoped there will be a collective agreement reached. In the meantime the manager and myself thought it was important to take a lead in these uncertain times and have agreed to defer a substantial amount of our wages going forward. Everyone has to play their part in helping to secure the future of this football club and its loyal staff.’’

Swans boss Steve Cooper added: “Everyone has to pull together during these difficult times in the hope that we can come through it as unscathed as possible.

“The club has confirmed this week that it will be placing a number of staff on furlough leave - and it is a credit to the club that they will retain 100 per cent of their wages - but it is important that as senior figures we play our part as well.

“This football club is so important to the supporters and the city, and the fact that I am taking a wage deferral is the least I can do.’’