Liverpool became the latest Premier League team to furlough a portion of non-playing staff due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
On Saturday, the club announced that “some” staff would be furloughed, but declined to say how many. From Liverpool’s website:
Liverpool FC has placed some staff who are impacted by the Premier League suspension on furlough. The club has confirmed those staff will be paid 100 per cent of their salaries to ensure no member of staff is financially disadvantaged. Last month the club also confirmed that it would pay its matchday and non-matchday staff while the Premier League is suspended.
Liverpool, one of the game’s most storied and biggest-earning clubs, is taking advantage of the UK government’s job retention program. The government will pay 80 percent of the salary for furloughed staff members (up to $3,000 a month), and Liverpool will kick in the remaining 20 percent. That ensures that furloughed staff will retain their full salaries as well as their positions while the Premier League is shut down indefinitely due to the coronavirus.
A number of clubs in addition to Liverpool have furloughed staff and are taking advantage of the government’s job retention program, including Newcastle, Tottenham, Bournemouth and Norwich. While furloughed Liverpool staff will get their full salary, one employee told the BBC that they feel personally betrayed by Liverpool’s decision:
A member of staff who works at Liverpool, and did not wish to be named, told BBC Sport: "The club call their staff their family - I'm not feeling like a family member.
"Why is a club that turns over £100m using a government scheme for its staff when other businesses are more in need of it?
"I feel disappointed and I'm feeling that this government scheme could be used by businesses in trouble."
The member of stuff added that they were "disappointed, especially after Everton said they were not doing it".
Beyond employees, fans, media members, and even a former player are similarly disgusted by a mega-rich soccer club with massive weekly wage payouts asking the government to fund salaries — especially since the salaries of furloughed employees amount to a drop in the bucket for Liverpool. (Warning: Some NSFW language ahead.)
Just to put @LFC furloughing decision in context, half the non-playing staff at £2,500 a month would cost the taxpayer £840,000 approx a month. Liverpool in the last accounts spent £25 million a month on wages pic.twitter.com/JV1AXHCoRt— the esk (@theesk) April 4, 2020
I don't know of any Liverpool fan of any standing that won't be anything other than disgusted at the club for furloghing staff.— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) April 4, 2020
It's just plain fucking wrong.
Furloughing? Expected better from Liverpool. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme designed to help smaller, vulnerable businesses weather the storm not give wealthy clubs taxpayers’ money needed elsewhere. Good that staff getting full wages but furloughing feels against LFC’s values.— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) April 4, 2020
So Liverpool, the 7th richest football club in the world, places non playing staff on furlough, but expects the Government to pay 80% of their salaries. Wouldn’t it be better to let the Govt keep the money to put to better use and the Club pays 100%?— Ross Crombie (@RossCrombie) April 4, 2020
And they gave £43m to agents last year. Four weeks into a shutdown, the government is being asked to pay 80% of Liverpool's wages for non-playing staff (club paying the other 20%).— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) April 4, 2020
It's indefensible. https://t.co/2kK8wPWoAu
So Liverpool are the newest wankers in football to put some non playing staff on furlough. Made millions last season and now the tax payers are paying for their staff.— ison (@isonafc) April 4, 2020
Liverpool get plenty of praise, but just furloughed non-playing staff. Outrageous. This a business that increased revenue by £77.9 million last season, taking it to €533m. Increased profit to £42m despite £223m transfer spend. And they want taxpayer to cover brief losses? Wow.— Ewan MacKenna (@EwanMacKenna) April 4, 2020
In Liverpool’s latest COVID-19 update, the club said that there is “ongoing active engagement about the topic of salary deductions” while the Premier League is shut down. The discussions are “complex” and are therefore still continuing.
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