ACCRINGTON Stanley owner Andy Holt says football is having "a wake-up call" after placing a number of staff - including coaching and office staff - on furlough under the Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

With the last game of the current season played on March 7, and a return date of April 30 only provisional at this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, Holt had expressed concerns about navigating the club through the crisis.

Business owner Holt, who founded Altham based plastic storage firm What More UK, was supportive of postponing football when the the virus was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, and criticised the Football League for stalling on their decision, which was ultimately made after Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive.

The English leagues were the last of Europe’s leading countries to suspend play.

But with no definite end to the suspension yet in sight with the nation in lockdown as the virus takes hold, Holt has taken steps to protect the club using the scheme whereby the Government will pay 80 per cent of salaries up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.

However, it is understood that the nature of player contracts means there is no provision for furlough, and therefore they are unaffected by these changes.

A statement on the Accrington Stanley's website read: "With football in lockdown since early March and with no change on the horizon for the foreseeable future, we have taken the decision to use the government’s newly announced wage support system to furlough all ASFC staff.

"Our staff have been unable to work since the shutdown, this decision recognises that and puts the football club into hibernation, ready to return when football is possible again. We are also following government guidance about what we can do to support the casual staff.

"As a result, there will be minimal social media updates on all our media channels until we are open and football is back.

"Stay safe, stay at home and we will speak soon."

The club's offices and retail shop were closed at 5pm on Monday, while the players have not been at the Wham Stadium for almost two weeks and have been advised to keep on top of their fitness at home, on their own.

Holt believes the landscape of football will change dramatically post-virus, and does not anticipate the Premier League will help clubs struggling further down the pyramid.

Through his Twitter account, he said: "Who funds the clubs until end of July is the million dollar question.

"The numbers involved are mind blowing. Something will have to give @EFL (English Football League). Especially if owners other businesses are in trouble.

"It might end up being owners having to cut off irrespective of EFL

"If there is no end in sight, cutting losses will become a very real possibility in football.

"This is a wake up call. There’s no point in the Premier League helping (assuming they could!) if EFL clubs are going to (pour) money down the drain, as has been the case in many instances.

"Without a change in regs (sic) it is hard to see a future."

He added: "Anyone expecting the Premier League solving footballs problems are probably going to be disappointed.

"It’s a bit like you giving your kids money to play the slots. There’s never enough.

"The Premier League might as well gamble it themselves, rather than watch EFL clubs do it."