According to reports in the Daily Mail this morning, Celtic have placed the entire U18s squad on furlough.
The news comes less than a week after the club was heavily criticised for travelling to the Gulf coast in the midst of tightening coronavirus restrictions, a trip which resulted in 16 players and staff being placed into self-isolation after defender Christopher Jullien tested positive for the virus upon returning to Glasgow.
Peter Lawwell issued an apology to Celtic fans in a video released on the club’s own TV channel last night. That hasn’t exactly gone down a storm either.
MORE: 97k Views, Lawwell Video Reaction: “Horrendous interview. Trying to defend the indefensible”…”No mention of the January stock take on Lennon?”
The club’s PR is taking a real hit again this morning as it is reported that Celtic have made the decision to use the UK government retention scheme to furlough their Under 18 players in the wake of the expensive excursion abroad, which will see 80% of the player’s wages covered by the taxpayer.
A week after blowing £250k on a jolly for the manager. We are an embarrassment of a club. https://t.co/SqvUXcMNpp
— Paul (@pault1888) January 14, 2021
And don’t get me started on furloughing the academy players after wasting a quarter of a million pounds on the fly to Dubai disaster.
— Paul Larkin* (@paullarkin74) January 14, 2021
Imagine your work put you on furlough a week after sending senior staff to Dubai. 🤦🏻♂️
— Steven Fulton (@StevieBhoy8) January 14, 2021
According to the Daily Mail, a family member of an affected Celtic youngster questioned the club’s decision, saying: “People are struggling to understand why Celtic would go to Dubai during a pandemic and squander all that money on warm-weather training and then put young boys earning a fraction of the sum of the first-team players on the Government scheme. That doesn’t seem right.”
The Mail’s report goes on to say that the U18s Manager Darren O’Dea informed academy players that they would be furloughed during a series of Zoom calls. Other Premiership clubs are expected to follow suit after all professional football beneath the SPFL Championship was suspended by Joint Response Group on Monday. However, they may have more financial necessity to do so.