Liverpool apologise and reverse decision to furlough non-playing staff

By Jamie Gardner, PA Chief Sports Reporter

Liverpool have decided to reverse the decision to place some non-playing staff on the Government’s furlough scheme as chief executive Peter Moore admitted they came to the “wrong conclusion”.

The Premier League club, who in February announced pre-tax profits of £42million for 2018-19, were heavily criticised after they announced their intention to turn to the scheme during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to the club’s fans, Moore said: “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.”

Moore added: “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.”

On Saturday, Liverpool announced they would follow the lead of Newcastle, Tottenham, Bournemouth and Norwich in furloughing some non-playing staff following the shutdown of football in the country.

Around 200 staff were understood to be affected – receiving 80 per cent of their salary through the government scheme with Liverpool topping up their wages to make sure no one was “financially disadvantaged”.

Liverpool have reversed their decision to furlough non-playing staff (Richard Sellers/PA)

However, there was a heavy backlash to the announcement, with former Reds players Jamie Carragher, Dietmar Hamann and Stan Collymore taking to Twitter to express their displeasure.

Moore added: “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. We are engaged in the process of exploring all avenues within our scope to limit the inevitable damage.”