FSG do the right thing with u-turn in staff furlough decision

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Liverpool FC owners FSG overturned their initial decision to furlough non-playing staff members after it was met with huge disapproval by the club’s fanbase.

The owners had announced that the club would use the furloughing ‘option’ so certain non-playing staff would receive up to 80% of their wages from the government. The club would then pay the remaining 20% so none of the staff was down on earnings. However, the decision went down very badly in the football world.

LFC, a club having made record profits in recent years thanks to two Champions League finals and a record-breaking Premier League campaign this season, were seen to be taking advantage of the British taxpayer and utilising furloughing in the wrong manner. Many rightly felt that Liverpool Football Club should not be ‘taking advantage’ of such a scheme.

Yesterday (Monday, April 6th), Liverpool FC’s CEO Peter Moore published an open letter on the club’s official site. This confirmed that FSG had decided to do a u-turn and will not be furloughing any non-playing staff.

‘We believe we came to the wrong conclusion last week to announce that we intended to apply to the Coronavirus Retention Scheme and furlough staff due to the suspension of the Premier League football calendar, and are truly sorry for that.

Our intentions were, and still are, to ensure the entire workforce is given as much protection as possible from redundancy and/or loss of earnings during this unprecedented period.

We are therefore committed to finding alternative ways to operate while there are no football matches being played that ensures we are not applying for the government relief scheme.

We would like to acknowledge the great army of staff and casual workers who work tirelessly to ensure Liverpool is a club that operates to the highest of standards.

But in the spirit of transparency, we must also be clear, despite the fact we were in a healthy position prior to this crisis, our revenues have been shut off yet our outgoings remain. And like almost every sector of society, there is great uncertainty and concern over our present and future.’

Moore’s letter goes on to acknowledge the fact that no-one knows exactly when this global Coronavirus pandemic will have passed. This, of course, means no long-term guarantees can be made in relation to the status of any staff members at any club.

‘It is an unavoidable truth that several of these scenarios involve a massive downturn in revenue, with correspondingly unprecedented operating losses. Having these vital financial resources so profoundly impacted would obviously negatively affect our ability to operate as we previously have.

We are engaged in the process of exploring all avenues within our scope to limit the inevitable damage. We thank the many amazing people in our club, at all levels, who are committed to helping us do just that, despite the complexity and unpredictability in the world and our industry.’

For now, FSG have acknowledged their mistake and made the right decision.

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