Tottenham U-turn on decision to furlough non-playing staff during coronavirus crisis

Spurs will no longer utilise the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and have vowed to pay all non-playing staff members in full for the next two months following criticism of their decision

Jack de Menezes
Sports News Correspondent
Monday 13 April 2020 14:15
Coronavirus: How has sport been affected?

Tottenham Hotspur have reversed their decision to furlough non-playing staff and have announced that they intend to pay their wages in full throughout April and May, following the fierce backlash that their initial move received.

Spurs are the second club to perform a U-turn on their plan to use the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), having seen Liverpool do the same little more than a week ago, with an official statement announcing that the public backlash and pressure from the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’s Trust had led to a rethink.

The club accepts that they got it wrong in choosing to use government funding to pay for staff wages, with all 550 non-playing employees taking a 20 per cent pay cut and those unable to work from home furloughed.

Spurs will now ensure all staff receive 100 per cent of their pay for the next two months, although the position will be continuously monitored and reviewed should the club’s finances take a turn for the worse.

The change of heart does not include the club’s board of directors, who will continue to take a 20 per cent pay cut through to the end of May.

In a club statement released on Monday, Spurs said: “In our last update we said we would keep our position under review, especially in the context of revised budgets and cost cutting. Having done so we have decided that all non-playing staff, whether full-time, casual or furloughed, will receive 100 per cent of their pay for April and May. Only the board will take salary reductions.

“We are acutely aware that many supporters were against the decision we made regarding furloughing staff who could not carry out their jobs from home – due to the nature of their work – and our intention to apply, if applicable, for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, a scheme designed to ensure that jobs and employment rights are protected.

“Indeed we have seen opposition from fans to fellow Premier League clubs accessing the CJRS too. This once again underlines that we bear different pressures to other businesses, many of whom have and will continue to apply for support from the scheme as the Government intended.

“In view of supporter sentiment regarding the scheme, it is now not our intention to make use of the current CJRS that runs until the end of May. We shall consult with stakeholders, including the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust with whom we have been in dialogue over the past week and who share our desire to protect jobs, should circumstances change going forward.”

Chairman Daniel Levy bore the brunt of the criticism, with the THST calling on him to review the decision given the U-turn performed by Liverpool eight days’ ago.

“The criticism the club has received over the last week has been felt all the more keenly because of our track record of good works and our huge sense of responsibility to care for those that rely on us, particularly locally,” Levy said.

“It was never our intent, as custodians, to do anything other than put measures in place to protect jobs whilst the club sought to continue to operate in a self-sufficient manner during uncertain times.

“We regret any concern caused during an anxious time and hope the work our supporters will see us doing in the coming weeks, as our stadium takes on a whole new purpose, will make them proud of their club.”

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