Liverpool FC reverse decision to place non-playing staff on furlough and issue apology

The Premier League leaders have reversed their intention to use government grants to cover the salaries of employees affected by the global pandemic

Melissa Reddy
Senior Football Correspondent
Monday 06 April 2020 18:16
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General view inside the stadium
General view inside the stadium

Liverpool have backtracked on their decision to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for furloughed staff, issuing an apology for coming to “the wrong conclusion last week”.

The club announced on Saturday that they were placing employees impacted by the Premier League suspension on temporary leave, intending to use the government grant to cover 80 per cent of their usual wage costs up to £2,500 a month and supplementing the rest.

The decision, which is understood to have affected around 200 people, drew widespread criticism and in a letter to Liverpool supporters, CEO Peter Moore admitted it was a massive miscalculation on their part.

“We have consulted with a range of key stakeholders as part of a process aimed at achieving the best possible outcome for all concerned,” the letter read.

“A range of possible scenarios were considered, including but not restricted to : applying to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which pays 80 per cent of salary and guaranteeing the 20 per cent 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.

“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.

“We would like to acknowledge the great army of staff and casual workers who work tirelessly to ensure Liverpool is a club that operates to the highest of standards.”

Moore painted a vivid picture of how the global pandemic is financially affecting the European champions.

“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,” he said.

“And like almost every sector of society, there is great uncertainty and concern over our present and future.

“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.

“It is an unavoidable truth that several of these scenarios involve a massive downturn in revenue, with correspondingly unprecedented operating losses. Having these vital financial resources so profoundly impacted would obviously negatively affect our ability to operate as we previously have.

Liverpool have reversed their hugely unpopular decision

“We are engaged in the process of exploring all avenues within our scope to limit the inevitable damage. We thank the many amazing people in our club, at all levels, who are committed to helping us do just that, despite the complexity and unpredictability in the world and our industry.

“We would also like to take the opportunity to thank those who have engaged with us in a productive fashion, none more so than our supporters, their representatives, particularly Spirit of Shankly, the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, local MPs Dan Carden and Ian Byrne and many other individuals who we have had much valued dialogue with.”

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