Having received plenty of public backlash after announcing their decision to furlough non-playing staff over the weekend, Premier League leaders Liverpool have apologised to supporters and made a u-turn, reversing the choice entirely.
I reported the news on Saturday, that Liverpool were planning to use government funds to help pay furloughed staff members. However this evening, the club’s chief executive officer Peter Moore issued a letter to supporters and their dramatic u-turn was revealed.
Having been intensely criticised by former players, fans and media alike for their initial decision, they said they are “truly sorry” for the controversy caused.
Set to follow Newcastle and Tottenham by applying to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – a government-backed financial safety net – to pay 80% of furloughed staff wages, would alllow them to only pay the remaining 20%.
Jamie Carragher and the Spirit of Shankly supporters’ group were among those to condemn the move, with the club’s American owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) being urged to reconsider their plans.
Having announced a pre-tax profit of £42m in February, talks over the weekend have seen them change their minds after coming to the “wrong conclusion” when initially deciding to apply.
As quoted by the club’s official website, Moore said: “We believe we came to the wrong conclusion last week to announce that we intended to apply [for the scheme, furlough staff] 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.”
After eventually choosing to follow the example set by Manchester rivals City and United by not furloughing staff, Moore said the Reds will pursue alternative avenues to fund the payroll in the absence of football fixtures.
“In the spirit of transparency we must also be clear, despite the fact we were in a healthy position prior to this crisis, our revenues have been shut off yet our outgoings remain.
Like any responsible employer concerned for its workers in the current situation, the club continues to prepare for a range of different scenarios, around when football can return to operating as it did before the pandemic. These scenarios range from best case to worst and everything in between.”