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Liverpool reverse decision to furlough staff, apologise to fans

English Premier League leaders Liverpool have reversed their decision to furlough some of their non-playing staff and club CEO Peter Moore apologised to fans on Monday (April 6), after the decision drew sharp criticism from the British government and supporters.

The club said over the weekend they had furloughed some of their non-playing staff due to the Covid-19 pandemic and were holding talks about the prospect of salary deductions for players and senior staff.

The decision was made after the EPL was suspended last month and, with no clear date for when it can resume, the club said they intended to apply to the British government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to reclaim a percentage of the wages.

“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,” Moore said in a statement.

“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.”

EPL players and managers have been criticised for not taking pay cuts during the league’s suspension while the clubs’ staff, who earn a fraction of their wages, are furloughed.

The players’ union, the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), has yet to agree to a cut and argued after a meeting with the EPL on Saturday that reduced wages would lower tax revenue for the National Health Service.

The U-turn was well-received by former footballers who had criticised the decision initially. Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher tweeted: "Well done @PeterMooreLFC @LFC a big mistake initially and thankfully now it's been put right."

Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright tweeted: "Never too late to do the right thing @LFC @PeterMooreLFC." – REUTERS