By Pepi Sappal • 11 April 2020 • 1:14
Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust (THST) has urged Tottenham Hotspur Football Club to “do the right thing” by reversing its decision to use the government’s furlough scheme to subsidise players wages.
IN a detailed statement, they ask for a detailed explanation of why the Club wants to use the furlough scheme, when it’s actually intended to help businesses keep going during the coronavirus crisis. “Our worry is that the Board of THFC have damaged the Club’s reputation, exhausted any future goodwill they will need from fans, and affected the Club’s standing with sponsors, players and governing authorities,” stated THST.
In fact, over the last 10 days, chairman Daniel Levy has received much criticism since announcing that the Club will be reducing the wages of all of 550 non-playing employees by 20 per cent, as well as using the government relief scheme to furlough 40 per cent of those workers.
So the Trust sent the Club a detailed statement outlining fans’ feelings on the matter. In the statement, it clearly asks for an explanation: “We have not condemned the use of the furlough scheme outright. It is intended to help businesses keep going at a time of crisis. Ruling out the use of a scheme without knowing if it would lead to job losses would be irresponsible, and something which the Club staff would not thank us for advocating. However, we are asking for the Club to make the case for needing to use the furlough scheme public.”
As well as an explanation, the Trust proposes an alternative: “Our preference would be for non-playing salaries to be funded through a voluntary reduction in executive, player and coaching staff remuneration for at least the next two months. The Club would then use that time to reschedule debts and transfer payments, analyse the longer-term implications and set out options and consequences as fully as possible.
“We know hard decisions have to be taken that will affect everyone, but we also believe football has to take people with it. The game is an easy target because it flaunts its wealth. And because it has a natural aversion to explaining itself. Other private companies that make more than football clubs are using the furlough scheme. People who earn more money than footballers are not coming under the same pressure.”
The Trust also points out that the Club should consider the alternative because “reputation matters in football, not just emotionally, but commercially. Football has to accept it is judged by different standards and the reality is that seemingly wealthy private institutions and individuals are cutting the wages of those less well-off and taking taxpayers’ money when there could be an alternative,” it explained. “This is why we have asked the Club to explain its options and the consequences of those options far more clearly than it has. Doing so would have avoided the PR disaster of the past 10 days and, more importantly, would have been the right thing to do.”
The statement concludes by saying, “this is an unprecedented situation and no one, including supporters’ organisations, will get everything right from the start,” adding that it believes there is still time for the Club’s board to show they have listened and “to do the right thing.” The big question is, will they?
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