Chelsea have confirmed that they will help their casual working staff by paying them in full for fixtures that have been postponed, including the matches against Aston Villa, Bayern Munich and Leicester City.
The payments will be funded entirely by the club and will go to the support staff who help on matchdays, with the decision set to benefit stewards, hospitality, ground staff and the raffle sellers outside the ground.
Various club legends who work in the premium seating areas including the likes of Ron Harris, Gary Chivers, Paul Canovile, Kerry Dixon and Bobby Tambling will also receive payment.
Chelsea will not require their staff to work any extra days for zero pay when football returns and they have also issued an advance on accrued holiday pay.Article continues below
Indeed, a likely scenario upon the return for Premier League football is that games will be played behind closed doors to limit conditions for Covid-19 to spread at major sporting events.
This could lead to some casual workers going without pay even when the sport returns, meaning there are further difficult decisions to come in the next few months.
Still, the latest gesture from the club will be well received by those concerned about the financial difficulties of coping with the ongoing public health crisis.
Chelsea have also confirmed that they will be providing 78,000 meals to the NHS and charities that support the elderly and vulnerable groups.
Chairman Bruce Buck said, as quoted by the club’s official website: “We are and have always been committed to supporting our communities, especially the vulnerable, and at this time we recognise this is more important than ever.
“Our owner, Roman Abramovich, has been instrumental in challenging us to find ways to support those in need and after we successfully launched the Refuge campaign and made the Millennium Hotel at Stamford Bridge available to the NHS, this was the priority so I am pleased to see it begin.”
Chelsea have, meanwhile, decided against using the UK government’s furlough scheme, with the likes of Liverpool, Tottenham and Bournemouth having all made u-turns after criticism over exploiting the system.
The Blues are also one of only four clubs in the Premier League which are accredited by the Living Wage Foundation.
Chelsea have also been cautious in their approach to asking for pay cuts, with some players still unsure about what might happen.
Frank Lampard has been impressed with the charitable response of his club, meanwhile, and commented: “I have been watching it closely with a lot of people talking about it, and I completely understand what a lot of prominent people in football have said: that players will do the right thing.
“They needed some time, and I think the politicians jumped the gun while things were being prepared. People behind the scenes knew that. It was unfortunate that picture got painted.
“But since then a lot of players and clubs have stood up in a good way. Not every situation has been perfect, but knowing players and how they think, that’s been a very good reaction. It’s ongoing, and it shouldn’t stop. That reaction needs to continue.
“If there is a light at the end of this tunnel, if there are things we can all learn, it’s how we give back and how we stick together. It’s very easily said, it’s much harder done, and I think there have been a lot of good gestures that have shown that.”
The Blues players are training at home with the club’s coaching team offering advice over video conferencing calls.
Willian and Emerson Palmieri have returned to their native Brazil, while Christian Pulisic is back in the United States working at home to keep fit.
Chelsea are currently limited as to what they can do in the transfer market, especially with the uncertainty over television money amid the coronavirus crisis.
They have, however, moved to renew Tino Anjorin’s contract, with an announcement set to be made in the next week. Olivier Giroud is also in talks with the Blues over a new deal but Inter remain keen on signing the France international on a free transfer in the summer.