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Liverpool furlough some non-playing staff


Liverpool's Anfield ground

The Premier League has been suspended indefinitely with Liverpool clear at the top

Leaders Liverpool are the latest Premier League club to place some non-playing staff on temporary leave.

Staff affected will receive 80% of their salary through the government’s job retention scheme and the club will make up the difference.

The decision has been criticised by former Liverpool players Jamie Carragher and Stan Collymore.

Newcastle, Tottenham, Bournemouth and Norwich have already announced they will furlough some non-playing staff.

The league is suspended indefinitely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A Liverpool statement read: “Even prior to the decision on staff furloughing, there was a collective commitment at senior levels of the club – on and off the pitch – with everyone working towards a solution that secures jobs for employees of the club during this unprecedented crisis.

“There is ongoing active engagement about the topic of salary deductions during the period matches are not being played to schedule. These discussions are complex and as a result the process is ongoing.”

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Jamie Carragher had a 16-year first-team career at Liverpool before retiring in 2013

The decision to furlough some non-playing staff was criticised on Twitter by former Liverpool captain Carragher.

He tweeted: “Jurgen Klopp showed compassion for all at the start of this pandemic, senior players heavily involved in Premier League players taking wage cuts. Then all that respect and goodwill is lost – poor this, LFC.”

Former Liverpool forward Collymore, meanwhile, wrote on social media: “I don’t know of any Liverpool fan of any standing that won’t be anything other than disgusted at the club for furloughing staff. It’s just plain wrong.

“Fellow football fans, furlough is for small business staff to keep those small businesses from going bump!

“Every Premier League owner has serious cash, and makes money from skyrocketing values of clubs, so what aren’t you getting about your owners dipping into their pocket?”

In February, the club announced they had made a pre-tax profit of £42m and increased turnover to £533m. Last year they also spent £43m on agents’ fees.

There was criticism when Newcastle and Tottenham became the first Premier League clubs to announce they were placing non-playing staff on furlough.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said Premier League players should “take a pay cut and play their part” during the pandemic.

Since then, Premier League clubs have said they will ask players to take a 30% pay cut in order to protect jobs.

All 20 top-flight clubs have agreed to put the proposed “combination of conditional reductions and deferrals” to players, during a video conference call between the Premier League and players’ union the Professional Footballers’ Association on Saturday.

The Premier League has also said it would advance £125m to the EFL and National League, and give £20m towards the NHS.

Liverpool are 25 points clear at the top of the Premier League, needing two more wins to become English champions for the first time since 1989-90.

Their statement added: “While our priority from the outset has been to focus primarily on the health and wellbeing of our players, staff, supporters and local community, the club has also committed to playing as full a role as possible in the Premier League’s ongoing response to the crisis.

“As such, we welcome yesterday’s announcement from the Premier League which confirmed the provision of support for the National Health Service, the EFL and National League and a commitment for the 2019-20 season to resume only when it is safe to do so.”

‘Not feeling like a family member’

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 [millions of pounds] 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”.

Liverpool said they were aiming “to protect the best interests of the club and our staff in both the short term and the long term, with all such actions being undertaken following various internal discussions”.

The statement continued: “In some instances, further measures will follow only once all parties are in a position to proceed and updates will be provided as and when this is the case.”

Article source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/52165826

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