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Tottenham's furlough decision 'stupid', says Jamie O'Hara

O'Hara also "disappointed" by reaction of Spurs squad and says flouting of social distancing rules by some of players is "silly and irresponsible"

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Tottenham's decision to put staff on furlough is 'stupid' says former Spurs midfielder Jamie O'Hara

Former Tottenham midfielder Jamie O'Hara has criticised the club's "stupid decision" to use public money to pay some non-playing staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

The north London side have faced a public backlash after 550 non-playing employees, some of whom have been furloughed, were made to take a 20 per cent wage cut while the players' salaries currently remain untouched.

Tottenham posted profits of £69m last year and are the eighth richest club in the world with owner Joe Lewis worth an estimated £3.9 billion, leading to disgust from fans over their furlough decision.

An angry O'Hara, who played for Tottenham for six years from 2005, told Sky Sports News: "It's disappointing from Spurs - they've got a billionaire owner.

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Image: Deloitte has estimated Spurs earned £460m in revenue last year

"I'd understand it if you'd go further down in terms of the leagues and you see teams struggling financially at the moment.

"But for Spurs, they're a big club, they're properly-supported and I think they should've looked after their staff through a massive part of it.

"If it's costing them £500,000 a month to look after the staff they've got there on full pay, then if this situation lasts for three months you're talking about £1.5m.

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"So is it worth damaging the reputation, which is global, for that sort of money when the club is so profitable?

"It seems a stupid decision to me."

Spurs have told Sky Sports News they will "continue to review their position" after the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust urged chairman Daniel Levy to follow Liverpool by reversing the decision.

Reports have also suggested the club's senior players are unhappy with the club's stance, but O'Hara believes they are partly to blame for the situation.

"I'm disappointed in the players," he added. "They're the money-earners there.

"Come on now, if you're a big player at Tottenham you look after your own and for me, it's the first and foremost thing you should be doing in this situation, so I'm surprised.

"Maybe Daniel Levy is put in a bit of a situation where he's waiting for the players to take pay cuts, so he's got to do something and try to save money as he's a businessman.

Spurs players react after Chelsea score their first goal during the Premier League at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Image: Jamie O'Hara says the club's players should be financially supporting staff

"If I was there I'd be asking that question and hopefully some of them are, like Harry Kane and Dele Alli.

"They're big players at the club and earn a lot of money - they should be looking after the staff.

"Tottenham is not just about the players, it's about everyone at that football club - the financial team, the corporate side, the marketing, the stewards, the chefs - everything about what makes the club great is all the people that work there, so the players should be the first people to make sure they're looked after."

Further problems emerged for Spurs on Tuesday when pictures and video on social media appeared to show some players ignoring coronavirus lockdown guidelines by flouting social distancing rules during part of their workout in a public park.

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Tottenham have reminded their staff of social distancing protocol after some of the squad were seen training in a park

Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho was pictured doing a session with midfielder Tanguy Ndombele on Hadley Common.

O'Hara said of the incident: "I'm really surprised at this moment in time, with the scrutiny Spurs are under, that they've gone to a park in their Tottenham training kit and have done a session running next to each other.

"It's silly. It's not great PR. It's irresponsible really from Mourinho and some of the players to be doing that because people are dying and struggling through this coronavirus, and we have to stop the spread.

"Seeing footballers go over and train together when they don't live together is irresponsible from Spurs, and it shouldn't be happening."

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