Exclusive - Club captain Danny Kirmond backs Wakefield Trinity’s ‘furlough’ plans

WAKEFIELD Trinity club captain Danny Kirmond says the squad and majority of staff being put on furlough leave is a sensible decision and they should be “grateful” in the circumstances.

By Dave Craven
Sunday, 29th March 2020, 7:52 pm
Updated Monday, 30th March 2020, 12:11 pm
Wakefield Trinty club captain, Danny Kirmond. PIC: Bruce Rollinson/JPIMedia
Wakefield Trinty club captain, Danny Kirmond. PIC: Bruce Rollinson/JPIMedia

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It is understood most Super League clubs have already started to furlough players owing to the coronavirus but Wakefield are the first to confirm their plans publicly.

With rugby league put on lockdown for the foreseeable future, clubs are understandably desperately trying to cut costs.

Wakefield Trinity chief, Michael Carter. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe/JPIMedia

The job retention scheme sees the Government pay 80 per cent of a furloughed worker’s salary - up to a maximum of £2,500 per month - if they would otherwise have been laid-off because of the ongoing pandemic.

Like all players, Trinity’s squad are training at home in isolation.

They have not played since the Challenge Cup win over Bradford Bulls on March 13 and have seen their last two games postponed.

Most people think it will be May at the earliest before matches resume but even that is an optimistic viewpoint.

Veteran second-row Kirmond, who has helped Trinity come through financially difficult times before, fully understands why his club has decided to take the ‘furlough’ option, even if some team-mates are still perturbed.

With clubs essentially not making any income, it is obvious what has to happen and all clubs are hoping that they will gain some access to government’s business bail-out loans, too.

“I think ultimately you have got to have a look at what is actually happening,” the 34-year-old Kirmond told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

“Some (players) initially look and think they’re only going to get ‘x’ amount of money.

“But it’s a way for the club to keep itself in business at the minute and a way for us to definitely get paid.

“It’s great that all the clubs have come together and realised that eventually they are all probably going to have to do this.

“At the minute, for our club, it’s the right thing to do it now.

“I think once everyone fully understands, everyone will realise that.

“That is the difficult thing at the minute; because we have to stay in isolation, we can’t all get in and have a meeting about it and have it fully explained to everyone.

“There is a bit of confusion in that.

“But I feel we’re in a lot better position than a lot of people are with everything that is going on so we have to be grateful for that.”

Obviously, plenty of players in the sport will earn more than £2,500 per month and Kirmond admits it has been difficult for some to grasp. But, given the surreal and unprecedented situation everyone in the world is facing, that is perhaps equally understandable.

“The best thing for all teams to do would be to sit down in a room together to discuss it but obviously we can’t do that,” he added, with all but three of Wakefield Trinity’s staff furloughed.

“Normally, if there’s a big decision to be made like this, you’d have a big meeting, as in any organisation really; big decisions are made and then explained to people.

“In an email, or a text or a phone call, the context isn’t always there and it is difficult for some people to understand.

“When you’re dealing with a rugby club, the difficulty is you sometimes forget you are dealing with people from my age and Danny Brough’s age - mid-30s - right down to kids who are 17 years -old so the understanding isn’t maybe there for everyone.

“But I think (Trinity CEO) Michael (Carter) is doing his best at the minute.

“He’s been getting that message over to people and it’s hopefully all going to go in the right direction.”

Trinity players were told they would be paid in full for March but there are no guarantees if the club will be able to top-up their wages above the £2,500 per month thereafter.