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Former Liverpool Stars Criticise Premier League Club’s Furloughing of Staff

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The decision has not been well received.

Liverpool FC v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

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”.

Carragher’s former teammate and close friend Didi Hamann went even further, believing it to go against the values of the club.

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.