Premier League chief defends clubs furloughing staff in letter to UK Parliament

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has penned a letter to government MP Julian Knight defending the actions of top-flight clubs in furloughing non-playing staff.

Tottenham, Newcastle, Bournemouth and Norwich have all taken the decision to utilise the government scheme, which pays 80% of fuloughed staff members' wages.

Liverpool had also applied for the scheme before reversing their decision following significant public backlash.

The clubs have been criticised for calling on the government despite earning millions in revenue.

Masters' letter read: "The furlough scheme announced by the government is meant for the whole economy, including many enterprises which might be regarded as providing entertainment or otherwise dependant on elite talent.

"We do agree with you that restraint needs to be shown by all and we and our clubs are doing just that.

"Individual clubs will need to make these decisions based on their own forecasts, as each club will have its own unique position."

Masters added that clubs were "losing revenue at an unprecedented level" and discussed how the total financial loss could reach £1billion should the 2019-20 season not be completed, and more if the pandemic worsens.

Knight – who chairs the parliamentary sports commitee – has been openly critical himself of the slow actions of Premier League players and clubs to offer support during the coronavirus pandemic.

The MP suggested players should undergo a pay cut to ease the financial burden on the economy.

Players have since been asked by the Premier League to agree to a 30% pay cut, while £20million has been donated to the NHS fund battling against the virus.

Masters reasoned with Knight's earlier comments, pointing to the £3billion-per-season revenue the league was generating for the Exchequer, including more than £1billion from player salaries.

He continued: "It is important to recognise that these decisions need to be taken with short, medium and long-term all in mind.

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