SAINTS’ players, management and board members have agreed to a three-month wage deferral.

By doing this they have become the first Premier League club to agree such a measure and it also means they won’t have to place any members of staff on furlough via the government’s Job Retention Scheme.

Majority shareholder Gao Jisheng and minority shareholder Katharina Liebherr have stepped in to ensure that this can be the case.

The Daily Echo is led to believe that chief executive Martin Semmens was a key driving force behind convincing the players, management and board members to agree to the deferral.

Saints remain committed to paying their members off staff 100 per cent of their salary until at least June 30.

As it’s a wage deferral, the players, management and board members will have to be remunerated at a later date.

Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl is also said to have been very keen to play his part but it’s important to note that his job isn’t to ask the players to take a pay cut.

And that’s why Semmens is believed to have played a big role in ensuring all members of staff can receive 100 per cent of their salary for the next three months.

Premier League clubs who have so far used the furlough scheme found themselves facing stern criticism for doing so.

Liverpool, Bournemouth, Norwich City, Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United all signed up to the initiative.

However, Liverpool made a dramatic U-turn just two days after the announcement following the reaction to the news that they’d placed staff on furlough.

The Reds posted a staggering £42million profit last year which led to people questioning whether they really needed to rely on the taxpayers’ money.

A Southampton FC statement read:

Southampton Football Club has agreed to put in place the following measures as part of its ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In keeping with government advice, all activity at Staplewood Campus, St Mary’s Stadium and our other sites continue to be suspended except for essential activities. This situation will be reviewed at the end of April.

In addition, the board of directors, the first-team manager, his coaching staff and the first-team squad have agreed to defer part of their salaries for the months of April, May and June to help protect the future of the club, the staff that work within it and the community we serve. 

Furthermore, the club can confirm that it will not use the government’s Job Retention Scheme during April, May and June. Our owners, Mr. Gao and Katharina Liebherr have put measures in place to ensure that all staff not deferring part of their salaries will continue to receive 100% of their pay, paid in the normal way until 30th June. Any decision on the future beyond this date will be made in advance of this, but only when more information is known.

In these unprecedented times we are dealing with many challenges to our business model and day-to-day operations. The situation is ever-evolving and we will continue to monitor and assess the impact to the club over the coming weeks before deciding any further action necessary.

Everyone at the club remains fully committed to the community we value so highly in Southampton. We will continue to offer our full support to the city of Southampton through the work of the Saints Foundation and provide any further assistance we can.

 We ask everyone connected to the club and the city of Southampton to listen and adhere to the government’s advice.  

Meanwhile, we will continue to prepare our club for a return to the pitch and make sure that, when safe, we are ready to play and serve the people of Southampton again. 

Until then, We March On. Together.