Liverpool reverse furlough decision after backlash over coronavirus stance

Liverpool have reversed their controversial decision to furlough some members of their non-playing staff following heavy criticism.

The Reds made a statement on Saturday to announce that they would join the likes of Newcastle and Tottenham in putting some of their workers on the government scheme.

The Premier League club, who in February announced pre-tax profits of £42million for 2018-19, were heavily criticised for their financial stance during the pandemic.

They were attacked by high-profile figures such as Jamie Carragher, Gary Lineker and Stan Collymore following the move, however, and have now gone back on their decision.

A statement from Liverpool's chief executive Peter Moore read: "“We have consulted with a range of key stakeholders as part of a process aimed at achieving the best possible outcome for all concerned.

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

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".

The club have since performed a U-turn, with Moore adding: “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.

“But 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.

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

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