Liverpool chiefs convinced Premier League rivals 'leaked' furlough plans

Liverpool chiefs reportedly believe their plans to furlough staff were ‘leaked’ by another Premier League club following confidential discussions among the top-flight sides about how they intended to manage the coronavirus crisis.

According to The Athletic, Liverpool bosses initially planned to release a statement on Monday about their intentions to furlough non-playing staff, once they had contacted all those impacted by the decision.

However, they were forced to release a hasty statement on Saturday – with the club’s hierarchy convinced one of their Premier League rivals had leaked their intentions – before eventually backtracking on the decision and issuing a public apology.

Chief exectuvie Peter Moore penned an open letter to supporters on Monday, saying the club was ‘truly sorry’ for coming to the ‘wrong conclusion’ after deciding to furlough around 200 employees.

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Liverpool owner John W Henry, chairman Tom Werner and Fenway Sports Group (FSG) president Mike Gordon were ‘shocked’ by the criticism the club faced after announcing their plans. They were said to be stung by accusations of greed – something they believe to be unfair.

Former Liverpool players Jamie Carragher and Stan Collymore had been among those to criticise the club.

Carragher branded the move as ‘poor’ while Collymore described it as ‘plain f***ing wrong’.

A series of conference calls were held by Liverpool chiefs on Monday and a consensus was reached that reverting the decision was the best way to limit the damage caused from the public backlash.

They believed their plans to top up pay packets so no employee would be out of pocket would save them from public criticism which faced teams like Tottenham Hotspur, but they seriously misjudged the mood.

A Liverpool staff member told the Athletic: ‘That kind of thing was almost expected of Daniel Levy and Mike Ashley but you don’t expect Liverpool to go down that same route.

‘We’re always told we’re part of a family here and that working for Liverpool is different. “This means more” is the marketing slogan.

‘Surely part of that is looking after your own rather than taking government money which would be better spent elsewhere with so many businesses struggling?’

In the short-term the club will dip into cash reserves but there are concerns about the impact of the crisis going forward.

More than a dozen executive staff, including managing director Billy Hogan, Moore and chief operating officer Andy Hughes voluntarily took a 25% cut last week.

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