SOUTHEND United chairman Ron Martin has revealed six Blues players have been placed on furlough leave.

Echosport revealed last week how the players had been instructed by PFA lawyers not to accept the club's request.

But, in a statement to the Echo, Martin said: “The club has furloughed just six players at present together with 59 back room staff.

"One hundred per cent of the backroom staff accepted being placed on the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

"These are difficult times for everybody and we all have to pull together to find a solution through to the other side.

"Many of the club's employees were not furloughed and that includes senior management whose contracts are not affected."

And Martin confirmed that the players he had furloughed were among the highest paid members of the squad.

"It is correct that the six players that were furloughed are some of the highest paid individuals and who, it is hoped, may be better placed to manage this crisis," said the Blues chairman.

"Whatever the position it is the club's wish to be fair to all its loyal staff and it is hoped, as stated in the furlough letter, the club will make up any shortfall, when normality returns.

"I see this as part of the club's continuing social responsibility to help where we can.

"To put the record straight those six players that have been furloughed were paid 100 per cent of their salary up until the time they were furloughed and additionally the proportionate sum due under the Government's Job Retention Scheme."

However, Martin is obviously unsure how the long the situation will stay in place.

"Nobody knows what the future holds but what I do feel is that the world has become a better place with innumerable selfless acts," said Martin.

"We all have to be kind to each other and the club will play its part the best it can and for as long as it can.

"Football will return but for the moment “normality” looks to be some way off.

"Until then I wish all our supporters, their families and friends good health and stay safe.”

Here's the letter Ron Martin sent to six players