Aberdeen were today set to unveil their blueprint to negotiate the coronavirus crisis – and minimise the impact on lower-paid staff at the club.
The Dons have been locked in talks throughout the last week to find a plan to minimise the burden on the club during the football shutdown due to Covid-19.
Aberdeeen have been in negotiations with investors to find a way through the suspension of action, and it is understood players and management are also set to take wage deferrals to help the club through this unprecedented period.
Scottish football has been shutdown indefinitely since March 13.
Chairman Dave Cormack issued a stark warning of a £5 million financial black hole for the club if there was no football until July.
An Aberdeen spokesperson said: “Over the last week everyone at the club, from the investors to the manager, his coaching staff, players and club staff have been working hard to minimise the impact of the tough decisions we are facing, particularly on lower-paid employees. I’m confident that today we’re going to be in a position to announce the results of all our talks this week.
“These will not only protect as many people as possible with as minimal a financial impact as possible, but also significantly help our cash flow and enable us to get through this challenging period.”
Aberdeen chairman Cormack was transparent with his fears of a financial hole as the club have monthly outgoings of £1.2m.
With no income stream, he warned this would be impossible to sustain, for any club, for a period of six to nine months.
Aberdeen commercial director Rob Wicks admits the abrupt halt to income streams has been concerning, but insists the board have had to “think on their feet” with a response.
Wicks said: “We were at a fairly critical juncture in the season when this happened.
“When those income streams come to a pretty abrupt halt it’s obviously concerning.
“You think about dining revenue, walk-up income from tickets for games, you think about sponsorship income around games and the retail operation we’ve now had to shut, other than a small online presence.
“We’ve had to think on our feet and either repurpose some of what we’re doing, or think of innovative ways of doing things.
“We’ve had to keep fans engaged with what we’re doing – our approach to this is to be as open and transparent as we can be to put a stake in the ground.”
Meanwhile, Hibs players and senior staff have agreed to defer a significant percentage of their wages, while the club have furloughed the majority of their other staff.
Hibs said individual arrangements remain confidential, but “employees have agreed to defer salaries by between 20 per cent and 50 per cent.”
The Northern Goal podcast panel think Cormack’s open approach at Aberdeen is the right one:
Hearts and Ross County yesterday both announced plans to place their entire playing squad, on furlough leave.
Elsewhere, English Premier League clubs will ask their players to take a 30 per cent pay cut to assist with the payment of non-playing staff during the pandemic.
Wicks said: “What’s probably been the biggest challenge is how quickly this thing has moved. Human nature, you’re able to cope with things and adapt.
“I recall a conversation three weeks ago saying: ‘we better think about coronavirus and how it might affect the club.’
“It was more about thinking: ‘do staff need to work from home?’
“You think three weeks down the line, where we’ve got to and the measures that have had to be put in place by government and other bodies, it’s moved at an incredible rate and we’ve had to act accordingly”