A member of staff at Charlton Athletic has reportedly had to ask HR for permission to eat a packet of crisps at their desk, according to the Evening Standard.

Unusual as it sounds, this is seemingly the latest extraordinary cost-cutting measure thought up by owner Roland Duchatelet.

Duchatelet, who took control of the club in January 2014, is attempting to reduce operating losses while he looks to sell Charlton.

The Belgian confirmed last December he was looking to sell. He has been in talks with an Australian consortium for months but a deal is still not finalised.

As part of the cutbacks the working hours of cleaners at The Valley have been reduced and staff have been told they cannot eat lunch at their desk to keep offices tidy. It is understood one staff member wanted to eat a packet of crisps at their desk and their line manager rang HR to check if that was allowed. HR then informed them they needed to ring the facilities department.

Staff has also been asked to save on electricity bills meaning holding meetings in the dark, and only lights above desks are allowed to be switched on.

The situation at Charlton pinnacled on Wednesday, when administrative staff were told they will not be paid bonuses they say were promised to them by Duchatelet.

Staff say they were due an extra 10 per cent of their salaries if performance-related targets were met. Duchatelet, however, emailed them yesterday to inform them they would not receive the bonuses because the club had endured a bad year financially.

Employees have written an open letter to Duchatelet to express their “extreme disappointment” at what they describe as “severely unfair treatment”. They have taken legal advice and feel they have a strong case and are optimistic they will receive the money. 

The situation was described this week as “utterly shambolic” by Greenwich and Woolwich MP Matthew Pennycook. 

Duchatelet wrote:

“If you have further ideas on where we should review our efficiencies then let your line manager know.”

In response to the revelations, a Charlton spokesman told Standard Sport:

“The club is undergoing a review to reduce running costs. This is to make costs more bearable for any potential new owner.

“The club provides fresh water at the training ground, the first team have refillable bottles as do the U23s and U18s. The club looked at the spend on plastic water bottles as part of a current cost analysis process.

“In the stadium we replaced paper towels with hand dryers. This has the advantage of not needing to be refilled and takes away waste removal.”

As a result Charlton Athletics fans launched thousands of packets of crisps pnto the pitch during their game against Fleetwood Town on August 25th, according to TalkSport.