Liverpool FC yesterday announced that it would be putting many non-playing staff on the UK government’s furlough scheme. This means that the government will pay 80% of these workers’ wages during the coronavirus crisis, while the club have voluntarily decided to pay the remaining 20%. We’ll let you decide on your own view of this, but it’s fair to say the court of public opinion has ruled decisively against Liverpool.
A number of former players were swift in criticising the club. Jamie Carragher, rarely quiet on such subjects, characterised the decision as “poor”.
Jurgen Klopp showed compassion for all at the start of this pandemic, senior players heavily involved in @premierleague players taking wage cuts. Then all that respect & goodwill is lost, poor this @LFC https://t.co/9bE8Rw1veE— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) April 4, 2020
Carragher’s former teammate and close friend Didi Hamann went even further, believing it to go against the values of the club.
Astonished by the news that @lfc takes advantage of the furlough scheme to claim 80 % of non playing staffs wages back of the government. That’s not what the scheme was designed for. Contrary to the morals and values of the club i got to know— Didi Hamann (@DietmarHamann) April 4, 2020
Another Houllier-era midfielder, Danny Murphy, criticised Liverpool as well as other clubs in his Mail on Sunday column. Murphy described the decision as “grotesque because it wasn’t introduced for Premier League clubs who have more than enough money to look after their own. I’m particularly disappointed with the decision coming from Liverpool yesterday (Saturday) because it runs against the togetherness and unity the club has always been renowned for, particularly over the last 30 years since Hillsborough.
“I think there will be a backlash and while the club’s business people might think it will save them some money in the short-term, it will cause reputational damage.”
This is certainly a contentious choice the club have made. The financial thinking behind it is obvious, but does there reach a point where such negative publicity defeats the whole purpose? It would not be a huge shock at this point to see a reversal of the decision.