Norwich have defended their decision to place some of their non-playing staff on furlough leave during the coronavirus pandemic. The Canaries are one of only two Premier League clubs using the scheme, where employees receive 80% of wages from the government up to 2,500 although, in this instance, the club is making up the remaining 20%.

Newcastle are the other top-flight club to turn to the job retention programme while Liverpool, Tottenham and Bournemouth made U-turns on their decisions to furlough staff following heavy criticism.

Norwich’s chief operating officer Ben Kensell told BBC Radio Norfolk: “The decision we made was in the best interests of the club and its staff. We’ve been very transparent that we’re run in a self-financed manner. Ultimately, if we had the available cashflow to not have to take up schemes then, like other football clubs have, we would.

“The difference is we’re running it as a business and we’re running it the best way we believe will help it for the future. It’s also about our staff. What we don’t want is a raft of redundancies.

“We knew we’d get criticised as a result of it; what we’re not going to do is take a different view on that. We’ll stick to our guns and we believe we are doing it for the right reasons. We’ve got the best owners in football – that’s a fact. We haven’t got the richest owners but we like to think we’re doing things the right way.”

Norwich, who are bottom of the table with nine games left to play before the league was suspended, are reportedly budgeting for a loss of between £18m and £35m due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The club’s director Stuart Webber told The Pink Un: “As we sit here today we don’t know when we’re going to play football again, we don’t know when the season is going to end, if there’s going to be fans or not be fans.

“So it’s very, very difficult to say that we are definitely going to lose this, which means we need to reclaim X amount. Until that time comes and we get more clarity, we won’t be talking to any of our players or staff about deferrals or cuts.”

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