No date given for opening as players agree to defer their wages
Brentford's star players have accepted reduced pay. Picture: Brentford FC
Brentford FC have issued a statement saying that construction work on their new stadium is to be scaled back. ‘Practical Completion’ was due to take pace this month with the venue ready to host games in July but this will no longer be possible and the club now say an opening date cannot be forecasted.
Last week Buckingham Group, Stadium Principal Contractor to the developer, Eco World, paused the bulk of the works underway to allow time for the position to be assessed. There were 400 people a day going to the site when it was at peak activity but now the contractors will be concentrating only on electrical safety, care and maintenance and security areas and the club say any activities will be conducted strictly in accordance with current government Covid-19 guidelines.
Subject to review again in two weeks’ time it is intended that for now works will be the absolute minimum required during this period is to ensure, as far as possible, that the site is made and kept safe at all times especially in respect of hazardous unfinished electrical installations and, where feasible, other dependent critical live safety and related systems.
At the same time a conversation was initiated between a group of the senior players at Brentford FC and the Club management about pay. The outcome was that the First Team players have deferred a significant proportion of their wages until football is back and games are being played without restrictions.
Reports in the national press have suggested among other reductions the players would be limited to £5,000 a week.
Club Captain, Pontus Jansson said, “The players have been speaking about how we could show the Club our support through a difficult time. Our team spirit has been a big factor in our results this season, so I am very pleased that we, as a united squad, are able to show how much we appreciate being part of this Club.”
The statement from the directors said, “On behalf of Matthew and the Board, we would like to put on record our deep gratitude to the players for their support. The key value of Togetherness is something the coaches, the players and the staff all live by, the compassion and support shown by our players has been truly outstanding and as soon as we can shake them all by the hand to say thank you, we will!"
The Championship team currently lie fourth in the table in a play-off place meaning that Premier League football next season remains possible if this year’s fixtures are completed.
Many of the squad are already been looked at closely by teams currently in the top division including the so-called ‘BMW’ trio of strikers Said Benrahma, Bryan Mbeumo and Ollie Watkins. Watkins is reportedly being considered by Arsenal.
The club have also taken the decision to furlough a number of staff by utilising the Government’s Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme. Work on season ticket migration continues but all renewal appointments areby telephone or online. They intend to complete the migration of season tickets by next week.
To date they have sold more than 6,000 Season Tickets and a further 950 Premium Season Tickets in the area known as The Dugout. Once they have completed selling to their existing Season Ticket holders, they will move on to contacting their 6,000 Members followed by supporters on their waiting list of 4,000..
The club is also talking to the Mayor and the local health authorities about how the club’s facility and staff can be of help in the current crisis.
Club owner Matthew Benham financed the club through the profits made from his online betting business but it is understood that this has seen a sharp drop in revenues due to the absence of live sport.
The club was also hoping for a revenue boost from the sale of the Griffin Park site and the development of flats around their new stadium. A condition of planning approval was that the stadium should be completed before flats in the development were marketed.
April 5, 2020