Liverpool are the latest Premier League club to place a number of non-playing staff on temporary leave which has been met with criticism from both fans and former players alike.
In light of this news, a lifelong supporter of the club has started an online petition requesting that The Reds DO NOT claim government furlough relief to pay employees.
In February, Liverpool announced they had made a pre-tax profit of £42 million and increased turnover to £533 million.
Surely with the resources available to the Champions League holders, they are able to fully compensate staff who have been put on leave without taking advantage of the government’s 80% alleviation scheme.
The announcement by Liverpool was harshly received by club legends Jamie Carragher and Stan Collymore, who took to Social Media to express their angst and dismay regarding the decision.
Former captain of the side, Carragher, wrote via his Twitter account:
“Jurgen Klopp showed compassion for all at the start of this pandemic, senior players heavily involved in the Premier League players taking wage cuts. Then all that respect and goodwill is lost – poor this, LFC.”
Former Liverpool forward Collymore, meanwhile, wrote on Instagram:
“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.”
Super fan JW has already received over 1,000 signatures after starting the online petition through change.org this weekend.
He wrote: “Liverpool FC, who made pre-tax profit of £42 million with a turnover of £533 million in 2018/19, has today announced that they will put some staff on the government furlough scheme, allowing them to claim 80% of their lost wages from the government, up to £2500-a-month. Liverpool will then pay the extra 20% so that employees are paid in full.
“Whilst the employees themselves are not financially disadvantaged, it is outrageous for a business the size of Liverpool to take advantage of the furlough scheme to pay their workers. Liverpool FC is an absurdly profitable business, owned by billionaires, with playing staff on salaries worth millions of pounds a year.
“The scheme was designed to protect the income of employees working for small businesses who genuinely can’t afford to pay their staff. Not multimillion-pound clubs.
“Whilst Liverpool is well within its legal rights to claim the reimbursement, it is against the community ethos and culture of the club that they proudly promote and use as a key selling point. In times of crisis such as this, social responsibility should outweigh the financial value.
“I am petitioning to my club who I have supported all my life, to reconsider this decision, and to pay out of their own pockets rather than the taxpayer's pot which is needed more desperately elsewhere.”
Additionally, new shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds admitted on Good Morning Britain that the decision made by Fenway Sports Group to Furlough staff has caused public outrage throughout the country.
The generous scheme put in place by the government is clearly being abused here by upper-level management at Liverpool FC.
Fans of the club must hope that John W. Henry and co will step up to the plate and review their actions taken over the weekend as Health Minister Matt Hancock continues to mount pressure on Premier League clubs to enforce a salary cut to all players.
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