ROTHERHAM United chairman Tony Stewart says the decision to furlough playing staff was not a financial “do or die” decision.
The club opted to utilise the Government's job support scheme in the wake of relegation to League One, leading some observers to suspect it was in difficulty.
But with the players off duty and not due to report back for pre-season training until later this month, Stewart said the business was only following a course of action it was entitled to.
The furlough scheme covers 80 per cent of an employees' salary up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.
Stewart (right) told the Advertiser: “It is not the difference between staying alive and not. If there is a certain grant you are entitled to then you take it and that's what we've done.
“The reason we have utilised furlough is because football has stopped and if the players aren't participating in it then you can furlough them.
“With football, you have to get the consent of the players. We have got that and financially they are no worse off.”
Stewart told the Advertiser last month that the Millers had taken a £5 million hit from dropping out of the Championship and that the deficit could be as high as £6 million when lost matchday revenue was taken into account.
He has also pointed out that the financial gulf between the second and third tiers was such that Rotherham were better off playing in front of no crowds in the Championship than in front of crowds in League One.
But he stressed: “Rotherham is in control, not out of control. It balances its books at the end of every season. It doesn't carry any debt and that will continue.”
Many clubs in the EFL have been stretched financially by the pandemic and have no matchday income at the moment.
Stewart added: “Furlough is just an extra little income for the football club, which is our entitlement.
We are not the only club to have done it.”
ROTHERHAM United manager Paul Warne expects all 19 of his senior pros to report in for pre-season training at the end of this month.
Although speculation continues linking midfielder Matt Crooks and striker Michael Smith with moves away, no club has yet to lay its cards on the table.
Warne (below) is aware that situation could change but, for now, he and his coaching staff expect the group relegated from the Championship to get back to work at Roundwood.
“I know all our 19 and all their characters,” said Warne. “I also know that agents work hard to make money and to make moves behind the scenes.
“The 19 will come in and train and work hard and if there are questions to be answered then I have no doubt our chairman will make the decisions based on what's in front of him.
“Until then I have to manage with what I've got and at this point in time I think I'll have the 19. I'm more than happy with that. I just need to add.”
Warne has yet to make a new addition this summer but says that clubs who have been busier in the transfer market so far have been so because they need to be.
MILLERS chief Paul Warne insists he will not be making any hasty decisions in the summer transfer market.
Providing no-one leaves, he expects to make only three additions to take his squad up to the limit of 22.
And while he has made contact with some he’d perhaps consider bringing in, he is in no rush to follow through with concrete offers.
“We have to wait for better or more affordable targets,” said Warne. “Most of the clubs doing business at the moment, respectfully, have players we are not interested in or can't afford.
“There are a few lads we like the look of who are still under negotiation with their own club so we have to see what happens there.
“It might be that we have a couple in on trial and have a look at them.”
He added: “What I don't want to do is sign someone because they are available and take a spot up for someone better I could get further down the line.
“It's a constant battle of 'do we wait?’ or 'do we go?’ and I think a lot of the clubs are doing the same thing.
“It is so frugal, this transfer window, no-one wants to spend.”
“I know some teams are trying to get ten, 11 or 12 players in so I understand fans' frustration when we haven't signed anyone.
The difference is they need to because they haven't got a squad they're happy with,” he said.
“We have a really good base. We haven't got an issue anywhere on the pitch currently.
“At it stands at the moment our four central midfielders — Crooksy, Dan Barlaser, Ben Wiles and Jamie Lindsay — are a pretty amazing four and to add to that is a big ask. To start the season with those four in the building, you're not going to be a million miles away.
“I'm not stressed but I always have that 'what if” question if three bids come in at figures we can’t refuse, but at the moment there is no panic.”