Peterhead have announced 29 part-time and occasional staff will be made redundant when the UK Government’s job retention scheme comes to an end.
Club officials pointed to the financial impact of fans been locked out of Scottish football grounds since March due to Covid-19. The Blue Toon have returned to competitive action in recent weeks, but it is as yet unclear when fans will be allowed back into stands or hospitality lounges.
A Peterhead statement said: “Despite matches having resumed behind closed doors at the beginning of this month, the fact that there are no fans and no match day hospitality at games has placed serious financial constraints on the club.
“The facilities at Balmoor Stadium operate normally seven days a week with meeting rooms and function rooms regularly being hired out almost on a daily basis.
“With the exception of the new and innovative coffee shop which is running on reduced hours and with a skeleton staff, the stark reality is that there is no work for the vast majority of our dedicated team of staff.
“Unfortunately, the new government job retention scheme, which commences in November, has no provision for our part-time and occasional staff.
“Many of those affected are single parents, who rely on their jobs with the club to supplement their income and in many cases their jobs provide the only social interaction they have outside the family home.
“There are also a number of instances where more than one family member from the same household will be impacted.”
This morning, Peterhead manager Jim McInally said he felt the Scottish Government and National Clinical Director Jason Leitch were oblivious to the financial strain on clubs. In an interview with the Evening Express and Press and Journal, McInally said clubs were desperate for fans to return or financial support to be arranged between the Scottish Government and Scottish football authorities.
The Blue Toon’s statement, which claimed football communities across Scotland are facing “devastation” without help, added: “Everyone at the club has taken their share of the financial cut-backs over the recent months including the players, senior staff and management.
“The club are indebted to everyone who has helped to shoulder the financial burden and the decision to let staff go has only been made after a great deal consideration and deliberation, and only after every other alternative option had been explored.
“Peterhead Football Club urge the Scottish football authorities to make further representation to the Scottish Government in order to address the serious financial implications of playing behind closed doors for lower league clubs before we start seeing communities throughout the country being subjected to further devastation by their demise and ultimate disappearance altogether.”