European Tour and British Cycling furlough staff in tough climate
Golf’s European Tour and British Cycling are the latest UK-based sports organisations to utilise the government’s furlough scheme to slash costs during the suspension of events caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.
The European Tour has temporarily laid off half of its UK tournament staff for two months, according to The Times newspaper.
Some 13 events across the world have already been postponed or cancelled, and more are expected to follow.
The Tour employs around 270 staff at its headquarters in Wentworth in south-east England, and is presently drawing up a revised schedule in light of changes to the international golf calendar brought about by the pandemic.
Under the furlough scheme, which is also being utilised by Formula 1 and several of its UK-based teams, and some soccer clubs, the government is covering 80 per cent of the wages of employees laid off during the health emergency.
Earlier this week, the European Tour announced the postponement of the Trophée Hassan II in Rabat, Morocco and the cancellation of the Scandinavian Mixed in Stockholm, Sweden. Both events were scheduled for the first half of June.
The Lalla Meryem Cup on the Ladies European Tour, which was due to take place at the same time as the Trophée Hassan II, has also been postponed.
In devising a new schedule, the European Tour will have to work around the new dates of three of the majors, the US PGA Championship, now in August, the US Open in September and The Masters in November, although July’s British Open has been totally cancelled.
As things stand, the BMW PGA Championship, the Tour’s flagship event, at Wentworth is scheduled for 10 to 13 September, just a week before the rescheduled US Open at Winged Foot in New York.
British Cycling announced today it is furloughing 90 of its 270 staff, most in April and some in May, while senior managers, including chief executive Julie Harrington are taking a 10-per-cent pay cut in May and June.
Cycling is one of the UK’s most successful sports, but has been seriously impacted by the cancellation of events and the governing body is budgeting for a loss in income of £4 million ($4.95 million).
British Cycling is also in need of a new lead sponsor after HSBC, the international bank, announced it was ending its partnership at the end of 2020.
In a statement, Harrington said: “The COVID-19 virus means every section of society is facing an unprecedented challenge, and sport is no different. For British Cycling, it meant suspending all our sanctioned activity, including the events registered with us. That was the right decision and one taken to protect the health and well-being of everyone involved in what we do.
“British Cycling is a not-for-profit organisation with any revenue we generate invested into the sport. Because a significant part of that revenue comes from events – including a proportion of entry fees and other associated payments which go toward administering the sport – and because the majority of cycling events take place over the spring and summer months, we are planning for a significant drop in income of around £4 million.”