Liverpool make furlough u-turn following backlash

LIVERPOOL HAVE MADE a u-turn on their decision to furlough a number of non-playing staff impacted by the Premier League’s suspension following a backlash, CEO Peter Moore has confirmed.

The Reds announced of Friday they were following the likes of Tottenham and Newcastle United in taking advantage of the United Kingdom government’s job retention scheme, meaning 80% of some staff wages would be paid by the state.

But that move was widely slammed given the club had less than six weeks previously announced £42million pre-tax profits, with former Liverpool players Jamie Carragher, Danny Murphy and Dietmar Hamann among those to publicly lambast the decision.

Following the criticism, Liverpool have opted to seek alternative arrangements.

A statement attributed to Moore on Liverpool’s official website read: “We have consulted with a range of key stakeholders as part of a process aimed at achieving the best possible outcome for all concerned.

“A range of possible scenarios were considered, including but not restricted to: applying to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which pays 80% of salary and guaranteeing the 20% payment; applying to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme with a guarantee to reimburse monies received at a later date; and, thirdly, finding an alternative means to cover our furlough costs.

“It is as a direct result of this extensive consultation and our own internal deliberations at various levels throughout the club that we have opted to find alternative means despite our eligibility to apply for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

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“We believe we came to the wrong conclusion last week to announce that we intended to apply to the Coronavirus Retention Scheme and furlough staff due to the suspension of the Premier League football calendar, and are truly sorry for that.

“Our intentions were, and still are, to ensure the entire workforce is given as much protection as possible from redundancy and/or loss of earnings during this unprecedented period.

“We are therefore committed to finding alternative ways to operate while there are no football matches being played that ensures we are not applying for the government relief scheme.”

Moore went on to highlight that, despite Liverpool’s “healthy position prior to this crisis”, they are not receiving revenue, breeding “great uncertainty and concern over our present and future”.

Liverpool’s decision comes on the back of Manchester City vowing to not furlough staff, while Manchester United have confirmed they will not be making use of the government’s furlough scheme for their 900 full-time staff.

Staff found out they would not be furloughed on Monday afternoon via an email from executive vice chairman Ed Woodward, in which employees who have not been able to work from home or have had a reduced workload were strongly encouraged to volunteer their time to the NHS or their local communities.

The club also confirmed they would be extending goodwill payments for their non-matchday casual workers, which applies to a further 950 people, until 1 June.

United had previously announced a commitment to matchday causal workers to make payments to the 3,000-strong group for the remaining four Premier League home games, regardless of whether or not they go ahead, which will cost the club around £1 million.

The Premier League is suspended indefinitely amid the Covid-19 pandemic, with Jurgen Klopp’s side 25 points clear at the summit.

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