The 29 part-time and occasional staff made redundant by Peterhead have returned to the club’s payroll following the extension of the UK Government’s job retention scheme.
With the furlough initiative set to end on October 31 the Blue Toon announced a fortnight ago that they would be letting 29 members of staff go at the end of the month.
The Buchan club has been operating with limited income for months as a result of no fans being able to attend games, being unable to host matchday hospitality and a lack of functions being held at Balmoor stadium because of the pandemic.
But last week the job retention scheme was extended until March with the 29 Peterhead staff now returning to being furloughed.
Peterhead described the last 10 days as “confusing and stressful” with a number of other staff positions having to be placed in the “at risk” category.
A club statement read: “Peterhead FC made it clear at the time that the club had felt extremely let down by the Government in that there had been a lack of leadership, information and ultimately financial assistance in the days and weeks leading up to the end of the furlough scheme.
“Indeed, this was not only echoed by fellow football clubs but by a host of companies and organisations throughout the Scottish business sector.
“It would appear however that our voice has been heard, and the Government announced last week that there would now be an extension to the scheme until March 2021, this was made most welcome, albeit so very late in the day.
“We are therefore delighted to advise that after having explored the feasibility of operating under the extended furlough scheme, Peterhead FC have invited those staff identified for redundancies to remain on our payroll until such time the scheme ends or circumstances change to allow fans to return to stadia and hospitality can be offered to customers.
“This does not detract from the continued possibility that ultimately their positions may remain ‘at risk’ for the foreseeable future, but it does offer some financial comfort to them during this difficult time.
“Equally, it does not change the club’s opinion that the matter has been handled very poorly by the Government and we are very much of the opinion that there is still much more that they can do to safeguard clubs such as ours who have been at the heart of their local community since the late 19th century.
“We as an organisation will continue to urge the Scottish football governing bodies to continue to lobby the Scottish and UK Governments to find some means of financial assistance as we enter our ninth continuous month with limited income.”
The statement continued: “Some may be critical of the club having been ‘quick off the mark’ in letting our staff go in the last week of the scheme.
“The reasoning behind the decision was well documented in the media last week and had the information been made available by Government earlier, we agree that it could have been avoided.
“It is not the responsibility of Peterhead FC to guess what Government policy is going to be. We can only operate under the conditions as set out by Holyrood and with the information made available at the time.
“The decision to reinstate our much valued staff is not about politics, or making U-turns, …but simply about doing ‘the right thing.’
“At Peterhead Football Club doing the right thing is what gains us respect and loyalty from our staff and our dedicated fans. It’s a two way road. We’ve been doing it that way for the last 129 years and we have every intention of continuing on that basis.”