Liverpool’s decision to furlough the off-field staff has understandably generated a lot of controversy. On the one hand, the club is using a government program designed to help companies keep people employed and drawing 80% of their salaries during a time when so many people are losing their sources of income. As a city steeped in socialism, this makes sense. To Liverpool’s credit, they are also committing to cover the additional 20% of the salaries to keep their staff earning their full income.
On the other hand, Liverpool is one of the wealthiest clubs in the world. The fact that a club turning a profit is using money that could otherwise be allocated to groups with thinner margins while Liverpool are saving what would likely be a proverbial drop in the bucket is raising the ire of many. If nothing else, it casts the club in a bad light from a PR sense, and is garnering blow back from people such as former player-turned-pundit Jamie Carragher.
The supporter group, Spirit of Shankly, have weighed in on the controversy after their chairman was asked for comment before knowing any details of the furlough.
“Today, Saturday 4 April, LFC announced they are to furlough non-playing staff. We know no details, yet were asked for a statement. One was given in good faith saying for us the priority is LFC staff being paid 100% of their regular wage.During this crisis, many workers have lost or will lose their livelihoods. When it began, SOS contacted LFC to seek assurances that all non-playing staff would be guaranteed to receive 100% wages. We were told this would happen and we made a statement. This was and continues to be our priority.Many of our members and the committee have raised concerns that the club intend to use taxpayer’s money to pay staff. We can all agree this is wrong, but again for SOS the prerogative is protecting jobs.It is the club who make the decision on how to pay their staff and they are the ones who need to answer why, if they decide to furlough.
Our belief is that no million-pound plus profit-making organisation should be relying on tax-payer subsidies in times of crises, yet football as a money-making industry has been singled out. It is an easy target for the authorities. We are contacting the club now and asking them to explain their position and reasoning. We will report back as soon as we hear back.”
You can read the full statement below.
As promised, the Spirit of Shankly have followed up their statement with an open letter to Peter Moore.