Boss Derek McInnes today said NHS staff and front-line workers during the coronavirus outbreak are the real heroes – not the Dons players and management taking wage deferrals.
Chairman Dave Cormack recently warned Aberdeen faced a £5 million financial black hole due to the pandemic.
Scottish football has been shutdown since March 13 with no clarity when the campaign will end, if at all.
McInnes, his coaching staff and players, have agreed to partially defer payment of salaries and bonuses for four months from April 1.
The deferrals are between 10% to 30% of salary plus football-related bonuses.
Higher paid, non-football staff will also take partial salary deferrals. These deferrals will improve the club’s cashflow by £1.1m.
There will also be a further £2m injected into the club by investors.
McInnes said: “Footballers are lauded and a lot are heroes to our supporters, which is natural.
“At the minute our players and everyone at the club have made a huge commitment financially to help out.
“However, we are all sitting in the luxury of our front rooms watching on the television the real heroes at the minute.
“That is everyone on the front line and in the NHS.
“Everyone that is keeping the country going.
“They are the heroes, they are the people saving lives, and should be considered more than anyone else at the minute.
“What we are doing is a financial commitment. Bigger sacrifices are being made.
“What others are doing at the minute is far more than that.
“They are putting themselves at risk for the greater good.
“There are so many good people out there working.”
The deferral of wages for four months by the players was also initiated to help limit the impact on lower paid, non-football staff employed by the club. More than 50% of the club’s staff were unaffected by the deferrals.
All players were immediately on board in a show of solidarity.
McInnes said: “They deserve credit for stepping forward. It’s what I hoped they would do and it is what I expected them to do.
“There is not a better bunch of boys you would like to manage.
“That was right across the board from my staff as well.
“The chairman has been clear from day one that fairness would be at the heart of what’s happening and it would be a collaboration across the board.
“It was an approach from Dave (Cormack) to me. The club asked us, they didn’t dictate. It was a realisation of where we are and Dave went through the shortfalls and what is required.
“Myself, Dave, the board, Steven Gunn (football operations director) and Kevin MacIver (finance director) got together to make sure we get to a figure and level that is fair.
“It was important that everyone, the players and my staff, send out the right message.
“We all recognise this is a challenging time for the club to make sure we get through this next period.
“With the non-footballing staff at the club as well, everyone is willing to do their bit.
“The investors have put more money into the club and the financial muscle from them has been clear.
“Every club is facing the same challenges and I think we have demonstrated that everyone at Aberdeen is doing their bit and pulling in the same direction.”
Aberdeen have decided against using the government’s furlough scheme for players.
Hearts recently announced plans to place its entire playing squad on furlough leave.
Players will go unpaid, but are entitled to claim 80% of their wages up to £2,500 per month from the Government’s coronavirus job retention scheme for three months.
McInnes said: “I do think we have to stay engaged with the players. We are still trying to keep on top of their fitness work.
“A lot of members of staff are still busy with that.”
The SPFL are set to hold a meeting tomorrow to discuss their next move amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
UEFA believe all leagues can be finished by August and warned European participation for next season could be withheld for any association ending their season early after Belgium called time on their league, with Club Brugge champions.
It is understood the SPFL have held meetings with the Scottish government, medical authorities and UEFA in a bid to come up with the best possible strategy.
Ideally McInnes wants the season finished, but accepts a tough call may have to be made.
He said: “If there is a way this season can be finished we need to not give up on that too soon.
“That is the hope but we are all realistic to accept as weeks go by that is becoming less likely.
“There are going to be some tough decisions needed to be made if that is the case.
“That is not going to please everyone but ultimately that decision will have to be made if this is going to continue as long as we now expect it to.
“Had Rangers and Celtic been closer it would have been a tougher decision.
“The likelihood is Celtic would go on to win the league so that decision, if we can’t get the league finished, might be easier to deal with – unless you are a Rangers supporter.
“I see a lot of common sense in that. Hearts still had the ability to get themselves out of trouble.
“I don’t want to see Hearts relegated as they offer so much to the league.
“I think there a few things on the table potentially whether that is a 14-team league next season or whether we have to announce the champion and who is relegated. Who knows.”