Stewart Donald says furlough decision taken with “best intentions”

Sunderland owner Stewart Donald

Sunderland owner Stewart Donald said his decision to put all members of staff on furlough leave was with the “best intentions”.

In an open letter to the fans, Donald defended his decision to place both players and non-playing members of staff on the governments Job Retention Scheme, saying it was the “best course of action to take”.

The announcement was met with derision among sections of the Sunderland fanbase on social media, with some fans aiming barbs at Donald for the decision.

With League football suspended indefinitely due to the Coronavirus pandemic, clubs across the country have been utilising the governments scheme to protect the jobs of their employees amidst the economic uncertainty.

Premier League clubs Newcastle United and Tottenham were the first to utilise the scheme, with Liverpool also opting to, despite quickly reversing their decision following backlash from fans and former players.

And Donald believes the decision will help safeguard the club in these “unprecedented times”:

“We are continuing to work hard behind the scenes, with a focus on trying to reduce the financial impact and ensure jobs remain secure. We are also looking at many different ways to support the wider community”, he said.

“On Tuesday, we announced that our players and backroom staff had been furloughed. They join a number of other members of our non-playing staff, who we had already furloughed, in using the Governments’ Job Retention Scheme.

“We believe it is the best course of action for the club at this time. We will also continue to look at the suitability of all options being made available to businesses during this unprecedented period.

“I hope our fans can see that the conclusions we have drawn are fair and in line with where our club finds itself today. These decisions have all been made with the best intentions.”