Rotherham United’s Tony Stewart explains furlough decision

ROTHERHAM UNITED chairman Tony Stewart has confirmed that the club are utilising the Government’s furlough scheme to pay players during the close season – but has allayed any fears about the Millers’ financial position.

Cost of the drop: Rotherham United manager Paul Warne and Angus MacDonald after their relegation is confirmed at the Cardiff City Stadium. Picture: PA

Recent national reports said that Rotherham’s players had received letters asking them to go onto the furlough scheme, with a number of English Football League clubs having elected to receive financial assistance during the off-season.

The EFL have left it to their individual member clubs’ discretion as to whether they utilise the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in the summer.

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The scheme remains open to help companies top-up the wages to 80 per cent up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

Chairman Tony Stewart: Explained furlough decision at Rotherham United.

From July, government contributions will fall to 70 per cent up to £2,187.50, with employers having to pay 10 per cent.

Players across the EFL divisions are due to return to pre-season at the end of this month.

In May, Rotherham were relegated back into League One after a season in the Championship. Going down is likely to cost the club between £2m and £3m.

On the decision to temporarily utilise the furlough scheme, Stewart told The Yorkshire Post: “There is nothing dramatic about it. If they (players) are not working, you can put them on furlough.

“It is nothing derogatory. It is just a case of there being a furlough system and while they are not working, you can furlough people. It is not a big deal.

“It is utilising any funds that we get and I am sure we do not stand alone on that.

“It is government-led and all we are doing is utilising what is there to help out.

“It is ironic because when we were in the Championship, we got nothing, but we could take a loan out, interest free. Whereas League Two and League One clubs got (a combined total of) £50m.

Rotherham United is run within its needs and does not crowd up debt. We carry on with a clean balance sheet (each year).

“When you go up, you gain between five to six million pounds (extra), but obviously the wages go up. When you come down, the wages drop down by about 25 per cent.

“So I guess the loss for Rotherham is between two and three million pounds. So we have to cope with that and move on and the aim will obviously be to get back up there. We are used to doing it.”