The move to place staff of furlough labelled 'poor' by former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher
Sunday 5 April 2020 10:31, UK
Liverpool have announced they have placed some non-playing staff on furlough as the Premier League remains suspended due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
It is understood around 200 staff, whose work has been affected by the suspension of the Premier League, have been furloughed.
The move was criticised by former Liverpool players Jamie Carragher and Dietmar Hamann.
Carragher 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 & goodwill is lost, poor this Liverpool FC."
Former Germany international Hamann tweeted: "Astonished by the news that Liverpool FC takes advantage of the furlough scheme to claim 80 per cent of non-playing staffs wages back of the government. That's not what the scheme was designed for. Contrary to the morals and values of the club I got to know."
The announcement came after Premier League clubs met with representatives of players and managers on Saturday to discuss possible wage cuts for first-team staff.
The league's 20 sides met on Friday, when they unanimously agreed to consult their players over a "combination of conditional reductions and deferrals amounting to 30 per cent of total annual remuneration".
Liverpool join fellow Premier League clubs Tottenham, Norwich, Newcastle and Bournemouth in placing staff members in furlough.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme sees the government step in to cover 80 per cent of wages for the next two months, capped at a maximum of £2,500 a month.
Liverpool have pledged to top up any wages of any staff member put on furlough to ensure they continue to receive their full salary.
A Liverpool club statement said: "The club have confirmed those staff will be paid 100 per cent of their salaries to ensure no member of staff is financially disadvantaged.
"Last month the club also confirmed that it would pay its matchday and non-matchday staff while the Premier League is suspended."
Premier League players have come under pressure from a number of politicians this week, including Health Secretary Matt Hancock, to "play their part" during the coronavirus pandemic by taking a pay cut.
HM Revenue & Customs says: "If you and your employer both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is known as being ‘on furlough’.
"Your employer could pay 80% of your wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, up to a monthly cap of £2,500.
"You’ll still be paid by your employer and pay taxes from your income. You cannot undertake work for your employer while on furlough." The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is expected to be up and running by the end of April.
Liverpool revealed their first-team players have been in discussions with the club from the beginning of the Premier League suspension to ensure the club's staff are not financially hurt by the situation.
The statement added: "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."
The club also said a "significant" donation had been made to St Andrews foodbank in north Liverpool from first-team players and the Liverpool FC Foundation, while the club have launched their own foodbank appeal.