Fowler says Liverpool got 'mud on the carpet' with furlough call

Robbie Fowler says Liverpool’s owners got ‘mud on the carpet’ by furloughing non-playing staff and insists dramatic U-Turn was a decision ‘that should have come naturally

  • Liverpool reversed a decision to place non-playing staff on furlough leave
  • It came after the club faced fierce backlash after it was initially announced 
  • Robbie Fowler said it was the important the club quickly acted on their decision
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler says the club’s owners got ‘mud on the carpet with their controversial furlough decision, but that it was important the club quickly acted to put the situation right.

The Premier League leaders faced a fierce backlash after it was initially announced they would apply for the government’s taxpayer-funded job retention scheme for non-playing staff during the coronavirus crisis.

Liverpool reversed the decision 48-hours later and made a public apology after the mounting criticism led to talks between the club’ owners, Fenway Sports Group (FSG) and key stakeholders. 

Liverpool faced backlash after Fenway Sports Group placed non-playing staff on furlough

Robbie Fowler said it was important Liverpool quickly acted to reverse their decision

Former Reds striker Fowler told the Daily Mirror that while the club should not have put themselves in that position, it was ‘important to recognise they acted swiftly’ to put things right.

He said: ‘Liverpool should have been aware that the furlough and job retention measures were designed to help small firms coming through the crisis. 

‘They weren’t designed to enable a Premier League football club with an annual turnover of more than £500m and profits of £42m to weather a financial storm.

‘So I’m not going to pat my former club on the back for something that should have come naturally, but neither am I going to keep using the mistake as a stick to beat them with.

‘I know some will say I am bound to take this stance because I am an ex-Liverpool player, but we all have dirt on our shoes. 

‘The key is wiping your feet before you enter the front door. Liverpool’s owners got some mud on the carpet – but at least they have made a start in cleaning up the mess.’ 

Liverpool chief executive Peter Moore said that his club ‘came to the wrong conclusion’

Liverpool were the fifth club to furlough their non-playing staff, though Tottenham have now also reversed their decision.  

Staff affected were to receive 80% of their salary through the scheme and the club would make up the difference, despite making a profit of £42m last year.  

In a letter to fans, chief executive Peter Moore said: ‘We believe we came to the wrong conclusion last week and are truly sorry for that.’

He added that the Reds have ‘opted to find alternative means’ to pay staff.

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