11 staff members have been let go
Unless FC Groningen receives financial support in the short term from outside the club, the survival of the “Pride of the North” is at stake. The club announced on Monday that eleven staff members have been let go, with immediate effect. Furthermore, supporters and sponsors are being asked to help the almost 50-year-old club survive, reports the GIC.
In addition to the layoffs, the rest of the staff will take a wage cut, and the management will refrain from collecting their bonuses, which can be several times the yearly wage of an average staff member. Five vacancies will not be filled, and temporary contracts are to be critically reviewed. This tranche of measures should yield savings of over one million euros, in an attempt to maintain sufficient liquid assets.
FC Groningen has requested that Euroborg NV, the owner of the Hitachi Capital Mobility Stadium and the TopsportZorgCentrum, postpone and then adjust the rent at the stadium by around of 2.7 million euros. The municipality of Groningen is also a shareholder and has also been asked to help. All these measures are seen as necessary to try and drag FC Groningen through its crisis.
General manager Wouter Gudde says on the club’s website: “because we have not been able to finish this season and we have to take into account an economic downturn next year, we currently expect to suffer a financial loss of 5 million euros. If there will be matches without an audience next season, this amount will increase by 400,000 euros per home match. In addition to all the measures we have taken internally, we will use government schemes and cover the provisional shortfall by deducting 2.5 million euros from our investment budget.”
That investment fund was built through selling some of the club’s most exciting stars in recent years; including Ritsu Doan (7.5 million euros to PSV Eindhoven), Julian Chabot (3.7 million euros to Sampdoria in Italy), and Ludovit Reis (3.25 million euros to FC Barcelona B in Spain). It was intended that the fund be used in the selection and facilities for the stadium in the 2020/2021 season. That is now largely impossible.
Despite the severe financial situation, the club hopes to keep the players’ budget intact. In the coming days, a campaign will be launched to call on supporters and sponsors to support the club during its crisis.
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