Tottenham's Dele Alli
Tottenham's Dele Alli Image Credit: AFP

Tottenham Hotspur have finally seen sense and reversed their decision to furlough non-playing staff during the coronavirus pandemic amid criticism from supporters.

In a similar plan to that of Premier League leaders Liverpool Spurs had imposed a 20 per cent pay cut on 550 non-playing staff in April and May to protect jobs.

But the club said on Monday that only board members would see salary reductions and all other employees - whether full-time, casual, or furloughed - would be paid 100 per cent of their wages for April and May.

“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,” club chairman Daniel Levy said.

Liverpool had previously also reversed their decision to place some non-playing staff on temporary leave.

The Premier League giants had said they were going to apply to the government’s taxpayer-funded job retention scheme.

However, later, chief executive Peter Moore in a letter addressed to the fans said: “We believe we came to the wrong conclusion last week and are truly sorry for that.”

Manchester City had said they will not be furloughing employees at the taxpayer’s expense despite a number of English Premier League clubs taking advantage of the British government’s scheme to fund non-playing staff during the coronavirus epidemic.

“We can confirm, following a decision by the chairman and board last week, that Manchester City will not be utilising the UK government’s coronavirus job retention scheme,” the club had said in a statement.

The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust (THST) had said the club’s decision to use the government scheme - where employers can claim for 80 per cent of furloughed staff’s monthly wages up to 2,500 pounds per month - was harming its reputation.

It added on Monday that the club’s latest decision showed “maturity and humility.” “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,” THST added in a statement.

“No organisation is going to get everything right in these unprecedented circumstances and the eventual outcome is what matters... This is the first step, but a big step, in restoring relations between fans and the club.” Levy added that Spurs’ earlier move had only intended to put measures in place to protect jobs while they sought to continue to operate in a self-sufficient manner.

“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,” he added.

Spurs said medical equipment had been installed in their 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,” the club added.

The stadium has also been fitted out to house the North Middlesex Hospital’s Women’s Outpatient Services, freeing up capacity at the hospital to treat patients with COVID-19 symptoms.

Professional football in England had been suspended until April 30. The Premier League has said the season will only resume when the situation stabilises.