Spurs backtrack on furloughing non-playing staff during coronavirus crisis

Tottenham Hotspur FC have reversed their controversial decision to utilise the Government’s job retention scheme and promised to pay all non-playing staff their wages in full.

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy said at the end of March they would reduce the wages of 550 staff members by 20 per cent, while utilising the Government’s scheme with a number of staff furloughed during the coronavirus outbreak.

That decision has led to widespread criticism and scrutiny, with Tottenham announcing on Monday they were making a U-turn.

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has explained his change of heart. Credit: PA

A statement from Spurs read: “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 ongoing 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 and Liverpool owner John W Henry both came in for criticism.

Liverpool changed their decision to furlough staff due to a fierce backlash, with Levy feeling the heat as the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust railed against the move.

“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,” the Tottenham chairman said.

“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.”

Spurs captain Harry Kane (white shirt) in action before injury struck. Credit: PA

Spurs announced equipment has now been installed at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium so it can “operate drive-through Covid-19 testing and swabbing for NHS staff, families and their dependents”.

In addition to being the first Premier League ground used for testing, the club said that “the stadium has been repurposed and fitted out to house the North Middlesex Hospital’s Women’s Outpatient Services, freeing up much-needed capacity at the hospital itself to treat patients with Covid symptoms, whilst supporting the redirection of pregnant women away from the hospital during the pandemic”.