Forfar boss Stuart Malcolm has issued a heartfelt plea to Scotland’s football authorities for more information after feeling he has been “kept in the dark.”
As it was revealed by his club’s board that they would be looking at a “potential restructure” of the wage bill at Station Park, Malcolm has been doing his best to cope with the coronavirus and its impact on his team in particular.
The Loons boss, who has given his players individual training programmes to try to keep their fitness up during the shutdown, believes the communication channels between clubs like his and the SPFL and SFA should be improved with immediate effect.
He said: “This is a test for everybody in football.
“We don’t know when this season will finish or when the next will start.
“These are big decisions for those in charge of our game and I appreciate that.
“However, I feel as if I have been kept in the dark.
“Somebody should be telling us what will happen next as regards when the next meeting is and what is being discussed.
“There needs to be more clarity throughout the whole system.
“We are being told to look after each other but clubs like ours could go to the wall unless this is handled properly.
“When you ask, all you get back is ‘We don’t know.’
“That can’t go on and more information needs to get through.”
As a result of the shutdown, the Loons will now look to tackle their wage bill.
In a board statement they confirmed: “The directors of Forfar Athletic are entering into important and highly relevant discussions with the management and playing staff about a potential restructure of the wage bill with immediate effect and further comment on this will be forthcoming in due course.”
The board also shone a light on the financial tsunami that has hit them.
They stated: “When the virus struck, the club’s finances were at best ‘ticking’ over with a very small overdraft situation.
“However, we are now in the position that the only guaranteed income we have until the end of the financial year on May 31st is the £8,000 we were guaranteed from the SFA this week and a minor payment of under £3,000 due from the SPFL in early April.
“The payment from the SFA, it must also be remembered, is only an advance on monies we would have received later in the year in any case, but nevertheless welcome.
“There are other small amounts forthcoming but these are negated by a few invoices that have still to be paid.
“On the flip side, we anticipate that the club will lose out financially without doubt on the following due to circumstance no one could have foreseen:
~ Anticipated gate income from remaining four home league games including what was likely to be the biggest crowd of the season against Falkirk on Saturday week – £25,000 approx;
~ Match sponsorship, hospitality etc at these games – £20,000;
~ Cancellation of Ladies Dinner scheduled for March – £10,000;
~ Likely cancellation of Sportsman’s Dinner still to be confirmed and currently scheduled for May 22 – £12,000.
“As you can see these four items alone add up to a near £70k figure and taking a few more items such as loss of revenue from pitch hire etc into account the final figure will exceed £80,000.
“Quite frankly, as is the case with many other clubs, the whole situation could be crippling and the oft used statement this week that the game might come out of this crisis in a stronger position is ‘pie in the sky’ at our level.”