Just a day after captain Jordan Henderson’s Premier League coronavirus fund plan was publicised, the European champions have become the latest top-flight club to furlough their non-playing staff, prompting frustration and further debate.
Staff affected will receive 80% of their salary through the government’s job retention scheme and the club will make up the difference.
Over the past few weeks, Newcastle, Tottenham, Bournemouth and Norwich have already announced they will furlough some non-playing staff.
A Liverpool statement said: “Even prior to the decision on staff furloughing, there was a collective commitment at senior levels of the club – on and off the pitch – with everyone working towards a solution that secures jobs for employees of the club during this unprecedented crisis.
“There is ongoing active engagement about the topic of salary deductions during the period matches are not being played to schedule. These discussions are complex and as a result the process is ongoing.”
The decision to furlough some non-playing staff has already received criticism on social media:
In February, the club announced they had made a pre-tax profit of £42m and increased turnover to £533m. Last year they also spent £43m on agents’ fees.
Henderson’s plan prematurely revealed
Yesterday, a report in The Times revealed Henderson had contacted his fellow Premier League captains and senior players to organise a coronavirus fund, that will raise millions of pounds for the NHS.
Health secretary Matt Hancock singled out top-flight footballers for not “playing their part” by taking wage cuts since the coronavirus crisis began.
The Premier League held further talks with the Professional Footballers’ Association on Friday, with the outcome that players will be asked to take a 30% wage decrease, via cuts or deferrals or both, in response to this pandemic.
However, clubs and their players had earlier been involved in discussions over wage deferrals, reductions and how best to contribute to the NHS long before Hancock criticised their apparent inaction during Thursday’s government crisis update.
With the exception of Newcastle, Tottenham, Norwich and Bournemouth, many clubs have been awaiting the outcome of the Premier League, PFA and EFL talks before announcing their proposed measures.
The Liverpool captain’s idea is for PL footballers – who earn varying salaries – to contribute to a fund for frontline NHS staff. Banks have already been approached to take donations and the players will take advice from the NHS and government on how best to distribute the money raised.
Henderson is said to be unhappy that news of his plan broke before the fund has been established, per The Guardian.
In addition, the 29-year-old does not want to be credited for the idea, and instead is solely focused on helping those on the frontline leading the fight against COVID-19.
However, there is potential to raise millions for NHS staff fighting the pandemic and will be separate to any wage deferrals or reductions agreed between the Premier League, EFL and PFA in the weeks to come.