Sheffield Wednesday players have been stunned by a request from the club to be furloughed following their relegation from the Championship.
It is understood the Wednesday squad, who have not received wages on time this month, have rejected the proposal to have at least some of their salaries paid under the Government’s coronavirus job retention scheme.
Darren Moore’s team were relegated into League One three weeks ago when they could only draw with Derby County on the final day of the season. It emerged players had not been paid a week earlier when they drew with Nottingham Forest.
Wednesday were among the clubs who asked the EFL whether they could furlough players. They did not comment when asked about players being asked to go on furlough.
Their owner, Dejphon Chansiri, has been under scrutiny over the delays to paying players last season during a campaign when they were docked six points for breaching spending rules, a penalty that cost them their place in the second-tier. The initial punishment was for 12 points, but Wednesday succeeded in reducing the amount after an appeal.
Moore was the club’s third permanent manager of the season, after the departures of Garry Monk and Tony Pulis. A former Premier League manager of the year, Pulis was sacked in December after just ten matches in charge.
They released 10 players following their relegation, including Keiren Westwood and Tom Lees, who had both been at Hillsborough for seven years.
Joost van Aken, Kadeem Harris, Elias Kachunga, Matt Penney, Moses Odubajo, Joey Pelupessy, Adam Reach and Jordan Rhodes were also off the wage bill, with furloughing players an attempt for more savings.
Following relegation, Chansiri wrote on the club’s website and took responsibility for dropping into League One.
“As your owner and chairman, I take full responsibility for everything that happens at our club,” Chansiri said. “I am the leader and in good times or bad, the responsibility for Sheffield Wednesday lies with me. I am sorry to you all that we have been relegated.”