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Update from chief executive

3 April 2020

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Club Doncaster chief executive has provided the following update.

It has been a challenging few weeks for everyone in the community, and I continue to be amazed by the resourcefulness of our staff adapting to work from home and deliver services to those in need where they can. Whether that is the Sports College delivering lessons remotely, the Foundation's Fit Rovers courses continuing via video or our media team reliving past matches through our official channels. Staff have moved mountains in order to maintain business to the best of their ability, going above and beyond what could reasonably be expected - I'm proud to call these people friends and colleagues.

But it is now clear that it cannot be business as usual until we as a society have made progress in the fight against COVID-19. We have asked a number of staff across the group, all of whom were informed by their line managers or heads of department on Wednesday, to go into furlough. This means we can receive a significant payment from the Government towards their salaries - up to 80% or £2,500 per month per employee - although we intend to top up all wages to 100% for as long as possible. We have engaged positively with the PFA, EFL and RFL throughout the process and as a result the playing squads of Rovers and the Dons are included in this furlough request.

This is a step we need to take in order to protect jobs, like other businesses in our sector we've seen our income streams dry up and with no prospect of matches returning in the near future are faced with a significant gap in our budget. We've appreciated the support made available from the EFL, RFL and Government, and have no option but to utilise them in order to ensure we survive this crisis.

The world has changed so much in the past few weeks - so much alters daily, in fact - that we cannot plan too far ahead, but these steps mean we will be able to put on services, matches and events of the same quality once this is all over. We simply don't know when that will be, but we will continue to liaise with the EFL, RFL and other relevant bodies to ensure we are prepared when that happens.

I would like to thank the owners for their support to myself and senior managers at this difficult time, as well as everyone within the company who have continued working to the best of their ability. We have faced some real challenges, but the determination of colleagues to ensure we come through it inspires me. We believe passionately that our business model is sound and look forward to welcoming furloughed staff back into the business as soon as it is safe and practical to do so.

As an organisation we continue to make ourselves available to support the fight against COVID-19 as best we can, and stand ready to help as and when required. I know a number of my colleagues have already signed up for volunteer initiatives and I'm sure those who are furloughed will continue to help in their communities as and when they can.

Although we will operate with a reduced staff, we remain open for business with staff working from home where possible or - for those required to still be at the stadium - following appropriate safety and social distancing measures. We will keep fans informed of changes to working hours as a result of this, but please bare with us if it takes a bit longer than usual to reply to a message.

The most important things fans of all our teams can do at the moment is keep themselves and their families safe, follow advice on social distancing and help the collective effort to fight the virus. We know times are hard for fans, so we are extending the early bird pricing for Season Memberships - for those of you who feel able to, purchasing a Season Membership will be a massive help at this time. You can also buy DNA Cards, Purple Voucher books or sign up to the Club Doncaster Lottery - all of which will be valuable ways of supporting us but which will bring you benefits. Our Box Office can help with all of the above on 01302 762576 or online at tickets.clubdoncaster.co.uk.

Stay safe

Gavin


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