An article, which first appeared on the Daily Mail website on August 20th, said that staff were considering legal action against the owner for unpaid bonuses.
In June 2017 Charlton Athletic decided to give staff discretionary bonuses because the club covered operational losses with high income from player sales resulting in a profit of £1.4m ((EBITDA + £6m) during the 2016/17 season. In 2017/18 the operational losses grew and the player sales were much lower. This was mainly because of the ongoing sale of the club which caused our CEO to leave resulting in delayed player sales and delay in actions being taken to make the club more cost efficient. Last season the club lost £10m (EBITDA loss £5.5m) and as a consequence the decision was taken not to grant discretionary bonuses, all contractual bonuses are being paid. The ownership can confirm that to date no legal action has been taken against the club on the issue of discretionary staff bonuses.
In the meantime the club investigated how this issue became national news in the UK and beyond, a significant blow to the reputation of the club and owner and to the ability of the owner to sell the club.
On August 20th, before the decision not to pay a discretionary bonus was communicated to the employees, the article on the Daily Mail website appeared.
After the club confirmed on August 22nd that no bonuses will be granted for last season but contractual bonuses would be paid, the owner received an unsigned letter from “the administrative staff at The Valley” – there was no mention of the employees at the training ground. This letter was received at 4.35pm and was Tweeted out by CARD at 5.53pm. Their communication made it appear as if all employees were involved, that the bonuses were an obligation and that consequently the club was failing to fulfil its contractual obligations to its employees. An employee or small group tried to use the external pressure from the media to get their discretionary bonus despite the huge reputational damage to the club. It is unclear if a majority of the employees at The Valley supported the external communication of this letter, although it was written in their name, since nobody signed this letter to the owner. Although CARD has been very keen that the club’s management should always be accurate, the requirement does not seem to apply to their own communication.
The ownership believes the fans and the EFL deserve to know what really happened as the truth has been misrepresented.
Another recent example of the relativity of “truth” for CARD is when they recently wrote they “were disgusted to hear that Roland Duchatelet, our billionaire owner, is no longer willing to pay for academy players to drink water or eat breakfast at the club’s training ground".
The academy players still have access to water at all times, now they have refillable bottles rather than plastic water bottles. The ownership continues to invest £2.2m per year in the Academy, which is considerably more than the majority of League One clubs invest.