Piers Morgan lambasted the ‘astonishingly stupid’ decision by Liverpool’s owners to furlough staff in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2019 Champions League winners announced on Saturday they would take advantage of the government’s scheme to cover 80 per cent of staff salaries in order to ease the financial burden of the coronavirus crisis.
But Morgan insists the Reds have ruined their good reputation by doing so, particularly after they celebrated pre-tax profits of £42million for the 2018/19 season which culminated in their sixth European triumph in Madrid.
Owner John Henry of the Fenway Sports Group decided to capitalise on the tax-payer-funded scheme while they wait for the season to resume and their impending coronation as Premier League champions.
But the Good Morning Britain presenter slammed the decision, especially given the club have breaking several transfer records and dishing out 11 new contracts.
“Liverpool Football club built up such a good reputation in recent years under Jurgen Klopp, and winning the Champions League, this dynamic wonderful team, everyone was proud, everyone loved what Liverpool were standing for,” he said on Good Morning Britain.
WHAT DOES FURLOUGH MEAN?
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a series of emergency measures in the fight against coronavirus, including a huge bailout to cover the wages of millions of workers
Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all employers in the UK will be able to access support to continue paying part of employees’ salaries who would otherwise have been laid off during the ongoing health crisis.
Furloughed workers are those whose employers cannot cover staff costs due to coronavirus, and as such they have been asked to stop working, but have not been made redundant.
Such employers are now able to access support to continue paying part of their staff’s wages, to avoid redundancies.
To qualify for this scheme, you should not undertake work for your employer while you are furloughed, according to gov.uk.
By doing so, this allows your employer to claim a grant of up to 80% of your wage for all employment costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
“All gone, all gone, because their billionaire owners in America decided that this was the time in a year when they made £45m profit that they were going to furlough their staff at Liverpool Football Club.
“They were going to get the British taxpayer to pay 80 per cent of the salaries of Liverpool staff. This is when they’re paying players millions a year, £5m-10m a year for some of those players, this is when they’re making tens of millions of pounds in gate receipts, in fees for winning the Champions League.
“What an astonishingly stupid decision from Liverpool Football Club. We’ve seen the same thing happening at Newcastle under Mike Ashley, no surprise, the man who tried to fleece all his customers.”
In January, the club confirmed Nike as their new kit supplier after their deal with New Balance expired.
The lucrative new arrangement will see the club rake in £80m-a-year from the American sportswear giants.
Liverpool were also ranked as the seventh-richest club in the world by Deloitte during their annual money list, with revenues of £533 million recorded.