By Wayne Veysey

24th Apr, 2020 | 6:58pm

Exclusive: Derby County furlough players in groundbreaking move

Derby County have placed the entirety of their under-23 squad on furlough due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Football Insider understands.

The Championship club are looking at ways to cope with the financial losses during the shutdown of football in England and are in talks with the senior squad over taking wage deferrals.

A source at Pride Park has told Football Insider that the Rams have become the first side in England’s top two tiers to make use of the government’s employment retention scheme for their players, with the whole of the development squad furloughed.

The government’s scheme covers 80 per cent of an employee’s wages, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

Derby’s Under-23s were fourth in the Premier League 2 Division One table before English Football League matches were suspended indefinitely last month due to spread of the virus.

Derby have now switched their attention to sorting out the first team after their first request of wage deferrals of 50 per cent for first-team members was rejected by players following advice from the Professional Footballers’ Association.

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The Covid-19 crisis is having a severe impact on the finances of the game and there are major fears for the long-term futures of clubs as they battle to stay afloat until when football is able to resume.

Talks between the Rams and the senior squad are ongoing in a bid to try and reach a compromise.

Sunderland and Crewe Alexandra are among the clubs in the Football League to furlough players in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Several Premier League clubs have agreed wage deferrals with players, including West Ham United, Southampton and Watford, while Arsenal’s players have agreed to a wage cut.

In other Derby County news, it can be REVEALED that Chelsea are sniffing out a bargain deal at Pride Park.