Leeds United players, coaching staff and senior management have voluntarily deferred their salaries to guarantee the club's full-time, informal staff. members they are paid in the coming months, the second-tier English football club said on Thursday.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought the sport to a virtual standstill around the world, and English soccer is suspended until at least April 30, with the parenthesis hitting club revenues across the country.
Leeds said a lack of games, among other things, will cost the club "several million pounds,quot; each month, prompting coach Marcelo Bielsa and his team to collectively decide to defer wages to keep the club running in "uncertain times. "
"My players have shown an incredible sense of unity and togetherness and I am proud of their actions," Leeds football director Victor Orta said in a statement.
"We thank Marcelo and his staff and all the players for putting our largest team first and caring for the family."
Globally, more than 470,800 people have been infected by the new coronavirus and more than 21,200 have died, according to a count of Reuters news agency. The UK has more than 9,500 confirmed cases with 456 deaths.
"We are going to see this more and more in the coming weeks in England and beyond: the big winners in football clubs agree to pause their profits to help others less fortunate," said Al Jazeera sports correspondent Lee Wellings.
"This early Leeds move is well reflected in the club and is particularly in the spirit of community that has arisen in the UK in recent days."
"The problem will come with smaller clubs and players who cannot afford to take a break from their salaries. It seems inevitable that some clubs will close their businesses unless they receive government-level help."
With nine games remaining, Leeds is at the top of the championship, one point ahead of West Bromwich Albion and seven ahead of Fulham in third place, with the top two automatically promoted to the lucrative Premier League.
Finishing between third and sixth would pit them against three other teams in the playoffs, where they failed to advance after losing in the semifinals last season.
Al Jazeera and news agencies