Tottenham have reversed their decision to furlough 550 non-playing staff after players expressed their fury at the club’s controversial call.
Spurs have joined Liverpool in backtracking on their original plan to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which entitles businesses to claim from the British government 80 per cent of an employee’s monthly wage up to £2,500.
Sportsmail understands Spurs players were left angered by the club’s decision to furlough non-playing staff, as well as the move to enforce 20 per cent pay cuts to other employees.
There was a feeling within the squad that the decision reflected dismally on the club as a whole, with the hierarchy known to have been made aware of their players’ resentment.
‘In our last update we said we would keep our position under review, especially in the context of revised budgets and cost cutting,’ read a club statement.
‘Having done so we have decided that all non-playing staff, whether full-time, casual or furloughed, will receive 100 per cent of their pay for April and May. Only the Board will take salary reductions.’
Daniel Levy came in for huge criticism after Tottenham placed non-playing staff on furlough
Tottenham have now reversed their original decision amid mounting pressure from supporters
Tottenham’s decision to rely on the furloughing scheme was met with widespread condemnation within the football community given their position as one of the biggest clubs on the planet.
Tottenham declared a £69million profit last year. The club’s owner, Joe Lewis, is reported to be worth £4.3billion.
Indeed, Tottenham have been targeted for criticism from their own fans, but the today’s U-turn should serve to dampen some of the disquiet.
Chairman Daniel Levy added: ‘The criticism the Club has received over the last week has been felt all the more keenly because of our track record of good works and our huge sense of responsibility to care for those that rely on us, particularly locally.
‘It was never our intent, as custodians, to do anything other than put measures in place to protect jobs whilst the Club sought to continue to operate in a self-sufficient manner during uncertain times.
‘We regret any concern caused during an anxious time and hope the work our supporters will see us doing in the coming weeks, as our stadium takes on a whole new purpose, will make them proud of their Club.’
Tottenham have followed in the footsteps of Liverpool to change their original decision
Spurs are in talks with their players about taking wage reductions to help soften the financial burden caused by the coronavirus crisis.
Sources last week indicated the club and their players were quite some distance from agreeing a pay deal.
But it is hoped the decision not to furlough staff will make the path towards an agreement smoother.
Meanwhile, Spurs have also confirmed equipment has been installed in their stadium to operate drive-through COVID-19 testing and swabbing for NHS staff, families and their dependents.
In a strong request on Twitter, the club’s main fan group – Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust – previously wrote: ‘We have been saying consistently @SpursOfficial – pause and rethink.
‘We are now saying it clearly and in public – do not further damage the Club’s reputation, listen to your fans.’
But after hearing Tottenham’s reversal, the supporters group claimed the decision is a ‘big step in restoring relations between fans and the club’, while admitting it takes ‘maturity and humility’ to change such a contentious decision.
Tottenham had previously been urged by fans to ‘not further damage the club’s reputation’
The THST said in a statement: ‘It takes maturity and humility to reverse such a contentious and public decision and we’re pleased that, rather than doubling down, the club’s board has listened to the fans on this occasion and ultimately done the right thing.
‘As we said in our statement, no organisation is going to get everything right in these unprecedented circumstances and the eventual outcome is what matters.
‘We’re delighted for the club’s non-playing staff and we thank the club’s directors for finding an alternative way forward. This is the first step, but a big step, in restoring relations between fans and the club.
‘We should now focus on the range of other measures the club is delivering to help the NHS combat the COVID-19 pandemic; measures that can go a long way to making us proud of our club once more.
‘Difficult days are ahead but, with everyone playing their part, we can come through the many challenges we are all facing.’
On Monday, Jamie Redknapp slammed Levy for his original decision: ‘I just feel at times they don’t act like a big club,’ Redknapp told Sky Sports News
‘Tottenham, I know full well have good finances and plenty behind them, but it didn’t sit well with me.’
Meanwhile, his father and former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp was also outspoken on the matter.
He told the BBC: ‘I’m a bit disappointed they’ve used that scheme to keep workers on. These people are so important to every football club, the club shouldn’t be taking the government’s money to be paying them.
‘The players need to have a meeting among themselves and from their heart, say ‘I think it would be a good idea, let us take a wage cut, not deferred wages, we can afford to take a cut, whether its five, 10 per cent, but do it from the heart.’
‘When the government brought this scheme out I thought it was for businesses who couldn’t afford to keep workers on, I didn’t think it was for the use of top Premier League clubs.’
TOTTENHAM’S FULL STATEMENT
Following yet another difficult week for our country, our thoughts continue to be with those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our profound thanks go to the NHS and all key workers for the invaluable roles they are fulfilling at this critical time.
The footballing world is now recognising the current and potential future impact of the pandemic. It has destabilised businesses, clubs and the sport we all love – along with the rest of the football eco-system and its dependents.
All clubs will be facing different pressures. The cessation of our Club’s operations, particularly given our stadium’s use as a multi-purpose venue, has come at a challenging time for us.
In addition to the postponement of football, we have had rugby, concerts, boxing events and conferences postponed or cancelled. Since our results for the year end 30 June 2019, our net debt has risen, as anticipated, as we continued to invest in the team and completed budgeted capital projects.
In these uncertain times, we have to ensure we are in a position to meet our financial obligations and protect the Club’s ability to be able to operate when football returns. However, we also need, importantly, to support our wider communities and the NHS. This has been a week when we have worked hard to do both.
In our last update we said we would keep our position under review, especially in the context of revised budgets and cost cutting. Having done so we have decided that all non-playing staff, whether full-time, casual or furloughed, will receive 100 per cent of their pay for April and May. Only the Board will take salary reductions.
With no clarity on when football might resume and under what conditions, we shall continue to keep this under on-going review. We should like to thank our staff for their incredible support and understanding.
We are acutely aware that many supporters were against the decision we made regarding furloughing staff who could not carry out their jobs from home – due to the nature of their work – and our intention to apply, if applicable, for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), a scheme designed to ensure that jobs and employment rights are protected.
Indeed we have seen opposition from fans to fellow Premier League clubs accessing the CJRS too. This once again underlines that we bear different pressures to other businesses, many of whom have and will continue to apply for support from the scheme as the Government intended.
In view of supporter sentiment regarding the scheme, it is now not our intention to make use of the current CJRS that runs until the end of May. We shall consult with stakeholders, including the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust with whom we have been in dialogue over the past week and who share our desire to protect jobs, should circumstances change going forward.
Daniel Levy, Chairman: ‘The criticism the Club has received over the last week has been felt all the more keenly because of our track record of good works and our huge sense of responsibility to care for those that rely on us, particularly locally.
It was never our intent, as custodians, to do anything other than put measures in place to protect jobs whilst the Club sought to continue to operate in a self-sufficient manner during uncertain times.
We regret any concern caused during an anxious time and hope the work our supporters will see us doing in the coming weeks, as our stadium takes on a whole new purpose, will make them proud of their Club.’
Equipment has now been installed in our stadium to operate drive-through COVID-19 testing and swabbing for NHS staff, families and their dependents. Our Tottenham Hotspur Stadium becomes the first Premier League ground to be used for testing, following on from other sporting venues around the world.