In an astonishing rebuttal to the government, Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Masters, has defended the decision by some member clubs to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to pay their non-playing staff who have been furloughed.
In a letter sent to the DCMS Committee Chair, Julian Knight MP, seen by CaughtOffside, Masters went as far as to suggest that clubs in the English top flight were showing restraint and he further argued that the government scheme and subsequent measures were meant for the entire economy.
“We face a £1billion loss, at least, if we fail to complete Season 2019/20,” Masters wrote. “And further losses going forward if the seriousness of the pandemic deepens and extends into the future.”
The current, extraordinary, situation is clearly affecting all levels of business, and football clubs certainly aren’t exempt from that, however, Masters’ response was met with a stinging rebuke from Knight.
“It is frankly laughable to think that clubs are showing restraint on use of government money to pay non-playing staff and flies in the face of public opinion,” he said. “Liverpool has listened to fans, done the right thing and changed its mind.
“It is time for the Premier League to stop defending the indefensible. They should be working out a way to carry on paying the wages of club staff without resorting to taking money from the government scheme.”
With there appearing to be something of a stand off at present, it remains to be seen how the current situation will play out, suffice to say that it would appear to be in the Premier League’s best interests to toe the line, particularly at such a sensitive time for so many.