Southend United chairman Ron Martin has hit back at the PFA for their criticism of him regarding the club’s handling of furloughing players during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Shrimpers are 16 points adrift of safety in League One and have twice been charged by the English Football League this season for failing to pay their players on time.
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The players’ union further claimed that Southend have ‘consistently’ let players down over wages this year.
A PFA statement read: “The PFA is extremely disappointed with the public statement made by Southend United’s chairman, Ron Martin, which represents an unfair portrayal of the players and an inaccurate reflection of the club’s situation,” it said in a statement.
“Throughout this season, including prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the club has consistently let its players down with regards to late or non-payments of salaries.
“Despite the worry and distress this caused, players maintained their support for the club and always responded in a professional manner.
“They continued to train despite non-payment of wages, and collectively they felt a duty to the non-playing staff, the supporters and the wider community of Southend to complete fixtures.”
Discussing the club’s decision to place some staff, who are among the club’s highest earners, on the job retention scheme Martin responded on talkSPORT’s White and Sawyer show.
Give COVID-19 the red card
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For more info and tips, visit the NHS website.
The government has also issued further detail on what we can do during lockdown.
Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.
“I’m surprised they [the PFA] have come out and said that,” said Martin.
“The furlough letters made it very clear what the situation was, it was something that was looked over by our lawyers.
“Everybody else at the football club accepted the situation, with the exception of six players.
“Everybody else has been paid in full, and in fact those six players were paid in full up to the furloughing start date and then they were paid the remaining proportion of their wages [20 per cent] after the furlough money came into play.
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“They hadn’t accepted being furloughed at the time, but the other 59 backroom staff had. But yesterday [Wednesday] they had all accepted that decision.
“I had six letters in from those individuals confirming that they had all been furloughed.”
Earlier this month it was announced a deal had been struck for Southend to build a new stadium, which is expected to see more than 1,300 homes built in the area around the stadium at Fossetts Farm.