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Coronavirus Kent: Wages to be paid in full says Gillingham chairman Paul Scally despite mounting financial pressures

Gillingham chairman Paul Scally has confirmed that staff wages will be honoured in full this month.

The pressure on finances during the football shutdown has been immense and Championship side Birmingham City have asked their players to take wage deferrals.

Gillingham chairman Paul Scally says March salaries will be paid Picture: Ady Kerry
Gillingham chairman Paul Scally says March salaries will be paid Picture: Ady Kerry

Leeds United players and staff have volunteered to do the same.

Lower down the pyramid, in non-league, Hartlepool United players have been asked to take a 20% wage cut during March while up to 60 staff jobs at Barnet were only saved after the government's emergency support measures.

The support scheme, which pays 80% of workers' wages, has also been used by League 2 Forest Green Rovers, who have furloughed (put on leave) all of their staff.

The Gills' last home game was at the end of February and there is no certainty that there will be any more matchday income even if the season is completed, with suggestions it could be done behind closed doors.

Clubs have been left with no income but the Gills can at least honour March's salaries, as confirmed by Mr Scally, who told Radio Kent on Thursday: "We have been able to defer our PAYE, as have most businesses, for this month and that has helped us pay the salaries but of course any deferment means you have still got to repay that at some future date and the income that we are losing now and what we have lost, we are not going to get that back.

"We are going to pay salaries in full for March, next week, to all of our staff, including players, but our problem mainly is that not only have we lost our football income but we have lost all of our other income. Right now we have nil sources of income.""

Income losses include the cancellation of all conference and banquetting events at the club, an area where they have recently been investing, with the hope of seeing returns this year.

The Gills have received money as part of the English Football League's £50m relief package, which amounts to around £250,000 for League 1 sides, with an additional £183,000 available in an interest free loan.

Mr Scally was keen to point out that the payment is only money advanced, which was due to be paid to the club at the latter end of the season.

He said: "It is obviously good that we have it, because it helps us get through March, but it means we won't get it in April, May and June, of course. What then?"

The Gills chairman, speaking last week, admitted he was unsure how the club would be financed if the situation continues.

He said: "I think we can probably last two or three months.

"After that the cash we do have will run out and I don't have any solution past two or three months."

One idea he has suggested is asking the Premier League to contribute in the form of a £50m solidarity fund, with each of the 20 top-flight teams contributing £2.5m to the pot.

He said: "That £50m would probably get those League 1 and League 2 clubs through the next three months, with what they are losing.

"When your income is between £150m-£250m or more, I'm sure £2.5m per club to help the pyramid of football get through this very difficult time is not going to break the bank for most of those clubs."

The Gills employ around 300 members of staff, including players.

The chairman added: "We have to try and find a solution of making what money we do have in the bank that is available to last as long as possible and of course the longer this goes on, the more difficult that will become."

More on the Gills;

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Popular backroom member quits club

Evans: We all have to do our bit

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