Ross McArthur insists Dunfermline took professional advice before deciding against extending the furlough scheme for out-of-contract players.
The Pars chairman has confessed he felt ‘horrendous’ making the decision that 17 players could not be offered new deals in the current climate of uncertainty in Scottish football.
One of those freed, goalkeeper Ryan Scully, has questioned why the Fifers did not accept PFA Scotland’s calls for clubs to offer short-term extensions and make use of the government’s job retention scheme, which currently pays 80 per cent of wages up to £2,500 per month.
It has been argued that even an extra month would give players breathing space in the hope plans for next season can be firmed up by the SPFL.
Scully and others have been in touch with McArthur seeking clarification on the issue, with the player saying: “The way things have been handled is disappointing.”
But while PFA Scotland have told members that retaining players and placing them on furlough would be legal, McArthur has revealed the East End Park outfit received different advice.
He said: “Early on, I had looked at that and if there was a way of helping the boys and their families we would have looked at that.
“But the advice we got, the professional advice we went to from two different sources, was that it’s not the right thing to do.
“There are issues potentially attached to that. What we are conscious of is doing things by the book and we don’t want to expose the business to risk.
“Nobody is going to underwrite that risk for you, you’re carrying that yourself as a business if your records were ever audited.
“So, the view we took was that it was not something we were willing to do.
“I know other clubs, as is their right, are taking different decisions, and I respect that, but there’s no point asking for professional opinion and ignoring it.
“At the end of the day, what we’re all trying to achieve here is the future of Dunfermline Athletic. That’s more important than anything.
“It’s just a real shame that there’s a human cost attached to this.
“But businesses have to survive and hard decisions are now going to have to be made.
“As chairman of the football club, do I like putting out a statement saying I’m releasing 17 players at a time like we’ve got at the moment?
“Of course I don’t, it’s horrendous. But that, unfortunately, is the type of tough decision you have to make.”