CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Tottenham’s U-turn on their decision to furlough non-playing staff

The club 'regrets' making 550 employees take a 20 per cent pay cut during the coronavirus crisis, and now looks to make fans 'proud' by opening their doors to NHS staff

13 April, 2020 — By Steve Barnett

TOTTENHAM have reversed their decision to use the government’s furlough scheme during the coronavirus crisis following criticism from their own supporters.

At the end of March the club announced that 550 employees – including chairman Daniel Levy – would take a 20 per cent pay cut in an attempt “to protect jobs”.

It was a decision that led to widespread criticism and scrutiny, including from the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust, who urged the club to “do the right thing”.

Today (Monday) the Spurs’ board finally listened and made a dramatic U-turn, stating all non-playing staff “will receive 100 per cent of their pay for April and May”.

A club statement read: “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.

“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 coronavirus job retention scheme 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.”

The move comes after Premier League champions-elect Liverpool also reversed their decision to place some non-playing staff on temporary leave, before apologising to fans following a fierce backlash.

As it stands, Newcastle United, Norwich City and Bournemouth are the only remaining Premier League clubs that have taken up the government policy of furloughing staff.

Spurs also announced that they will become the first club in the Premier League to provide equipment at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for drive-through Covid-19 testing for NHS staff and their families.

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, while supporting the redirection of pregnant women away from the hospital during the pandemic.”

Chairman Levy added: “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.”

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