Liverpool’s management has changed its decision to place some of its off-field staff on furlough and apologized to the fans. The Reds attracted fierce criticism from their fans and media when on Saturday, they announced to apply to the government’s taxpayer-funded job retention scheme.
However, in a letter addressing the fans, chief executive Peter Moore said: “We believe we came to the wrong conclusion last week and are truly sorry for that,” adding that the franchise have “opted to find alternative means” to fund the salaries of the non-playing staff.
The change of mind came after strong backlash from the club’s fans which led its US-owners Fenway Sport Group and executives to reverse the move. English Premier League leaders have become the 5th team in the league to temporarily suspend the non-playing staff as the season is called off for indefinite period due to corona outbreak.
The staff hit by the virus were to receive 80% of their salaries through the government sponsored retention scheme and the remainder would be filled by the club which made a jaw-dropping profit of £42 million last year and is ranked as world’s 7th richest football club. Jamie Carragher and Stan Collymore were among those who criticized the decision. Other clubs that accepted the retention scheme are Newcastle United, Norwich City, Tottenham Hotpur and Bournemouth.
“Despite the fact we were in a healthy position prior to this crisis, our revenues have been shut off yet our outgoings remain,” Moore said.
“And like almost every sector of society, there is great uncertainty and concern over our present and future.
“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.
“It is an unavoidable truth that several of these scenarios involve a massive downturn in revenue, with correspondingly unprecedented operating losses.
“Having these vital financial resources so profoundly impacted would obviously negatively affect our ability to operate as we previously have.”
Gareth Roberts from the Anfield Wrap podcast said that the club may have made the decision with thinking about the ramifications but common sense prevailed eventually.
“It just felt wrong and I know Liverpool qualified for the government’s job retention scheme. It boiled down to morals for me and we expect more from football clubs than other businesses because we are emotionally part of the club – it is something we support and put a lot of our money and time and effort into,” he added.