Newcastle put players and staff on furlough to safeguard future

James Gordon

Newcastle Thunder have put players and staff at the club on furlough leave due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Bosses have written to staff to explain the move, which is a new job retention scheme in response to the lockdown that sees 80% of workers’ pay covered by government funding.

It’s unclear yet as to how many players or staff at Thunder are affected, given they play in a part-time competition.

In a statement, they said: “Newcastle Rugby Ltd, which includes Newcastle Thunder, Newcastle Falcons and its associated charity, Newcastle Rugby Foundation, is working with all staff to put together a plan aimed at ensuring long-term job retention and the ongoing stability of the business.

“This plan will incorporate government help via the furloughed worker scheme for some staff members, and salary reductions.

“This is to ensure that we are in a strong position to move forwards when rugby resumes. We thank our staff members for their understanding during this difficult period.”

Rugby union side Falcons were top of the Championship but with the season now cancelled, it remains unclear if they will earn promotion to the Premiership.

For Thunder, they have only just started their League One campaign, having missed out on promotion to rugby league’s Championship last season, losing to Oldham in the play-off final.

Simon Finnigan is their coach, with Denis Betts in post as director of rugby.