Reading: Championship club’s first-team players agree wage deferral

Liam Moore
Captain Liam Moore has played more than 170 games for Reading since joining them in 2016

Reading's first-team players are to defer "a substantial percentage" of their wages for three months to help the club deal with the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Manager Mark Bowen agreed to a similar salary deferral in April.

Reading returned to training this week, like other Championship clubs.

"This was the least we could do as we all try to get through the challenges that the coming weeks and months present," said captain Liam Moore.

"There are very testing times for our club at present, much like for every other club up and down the country."

Championship leaders Leeds United were among the first clubs in England's second division to defer wages when they volunteered to do so in March, just days after football was shutdown because of the pandemic.

A number of other clubs at the same level have since taken similar action, with League One side Doncaster following suit last week.

Reading have also made use of the government's job retention scheme, with their women's side, men's under-23s players and a large number of non-playing staff placed on furlough.

Moore said it was his job, as captain, to ensure team-mates were "100% comfortable in what they were signing up to".

The 27-year-old defender continued: "It is important to mention that this has taken a little bit of time, but it was important we ensured it was right for every individual concerned."

A statement on the club website said Reading were "very pleased" the players have followed manager Bowen and chief execute Nigel Howe in agreeing to a deferral.

"Members of our first-team squad have recognised the severe impact this crisis is making within the world of football," a statement read.

Concerns for the financial wellbeing of football outside the Premier League - where clubs relay heavily on matchday income - have been highlighted in recent weeks as they face playing behind closed doors for a number of months once action is allowed to resume.

Phil Hodgkinson, owner of Championship rivals Huddersfield, fears as many as "50 or 60" clubs could go bust as a result of the pandemic and that the English football's pyramid will be destroyed.