The Liverpool supporters’ group Spirit of Shankly has asked the club’s chief executive, Peter Moore, to provide more details about the decision to place non-playing staff on furlough because of the coronavirus pandemic.
While Manchester City have said their staff will remain on full pay, Liverpool were criticised after announcing on Saturday a measure that will affect around 200 employees. Liverpool are the latest Premier League club to use the government’s furlough scheme, joining Bournemouth, Newcastle, Norwich and Tottenham.
Spirit of Shankly has since written an open letter to Moore, asking for clarity. It has asked for details on how many staff will be affected, what their roles are, and if any workers will be released. It has also requested details on how Liverpool reached their decision, who was involved in implementing it, if other solutions were considered, and how much using the scheme will cost the taxpayer.
“You will have seen the overwhelmingly negative fan reaction to the club’s announcement stating their intention to furlough a number of employees,” wrote Joe Blott, the Spirit of Shankly chair. “We understand this is essentially an employee/employer issue but as LFC’s recognised official supporter representatives we are concerned about the damage this is causing to our club’s reputation and values.”
The West Brom chief executive, Mark Jenkins, meanwhile, has taken a 100% reduction in his salary as the Championship club look to protect themselves against the disruption caused by the crisis. Jenkins said other senior executives have also offered to take significant pay cuts. He added that West Brom may still have to consider furloughing staff.
“Like many other clubs we have considered using a furlough approach with non-playing staff who are now unable to work owing to the lockdown and we have made plans for this eventuality,” Jenkins said. “At present we have not been required to sanction this action but if the lockdown continues and football remains on hold then this decision may have to be changed.
“What we will pledge is to ensure none of the staff affected suffer a reduction in pay; the club will make up the 20% shortfall not covered by the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme.”