Mike Ashley and Newcastle won’t reverse furlough decision after Liverpool U-turn

Newcastle United will reportedly stick by their decision to furlough non-playing staff despite a U-turn by Premier League rivals Liverpool.

The Toon became the first top-flight club to place their staff on the Government's job-retention scheme – whereby they can claim 80% of their employees' wages back up to £2,500-a-month.

A number of other clubs have since followed suit, including Liverpool, before the Reds backed down and changed their minds after backlash from fans.

But, according to the Daily Mail,Newcastle and controversial owner Mike Ashley have no plans to follow suit.

Non-playing staff from across various departments at Newcastle were furloughed last Monday.

The announcement came just days after Ashley and his firm were forced to issue a grovelling apology after initially attempting to keep Sports Direct stores open after the Government announced its lockdown plans.

They argued that the stores were providing an 'essential service' due to the products they were selling being used for exercise within the home.

Finance chief Chris Wootton wrote: "We stock a huge range of sports equipment designed for exercising at home… indeed home fitness is the number one trending topic on social media after coronavirus itself.

"Against the backdrop of the closure of gyms the demand for these types of products has increased exponentially as the population looks to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

"Consequently, we are uniquely well placed to help keep the UK as fit and healthy as possible during this crisis and thus our Sports Direct and Evans Cycles stores will remain open where possible to allow us to do this (in accordance with the Government's current social distancing guidance).

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