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Opinion

Manchester United and Liverpool in Coronavirus commitment to staff – Why the silence from Mike Ashley?

9 months ago
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Manchester United and Liverpool have stepped up to the mark.

The two Premier League clubs pledging to still pay all of their casual staff even though no matches will be played until 30 April at the very earliest.

The Manchester United official statement (see below) explaining exactly why this is the right and proper thing to do for any decent football club in these difficult times.

The two Premier League giants have added themselves to the list of clubs doing the right thing, alongside the likes of (see below) Brighton and Crystal Palace.

The silence from Mike Ashley and Newcastle United is deafening though.

The NUFC owner so far not making any public commitment in these challenging times for so many people.

This is the bare minimum Mike Ashley and Newcastle United need to do, as well as every other Premier League club (and other clubs where at all possible).

Compared to the overall turnover, this will be a very small amount of money to commit to BUT it could make a massive difference to these casual staff.

Steve Parish has made clear that if any Palace staff have health issues relating to the Coronavirus, they will not end up on statutory sick pay either, as well as the club’s commitment to casual staff.

Committing to these things would be the decent and right thing to do for Mike Ashley and Newcastle United.

As for Liverpool, as well as making their commitment to casual staff, they have also confirmed financial support for the local Food Banks.

The same as outside St James Park, outside Anfield on match days you have volunteer fans collecting cash and food donations for the local food banks.

With games cancelled and food banks facing countless weeks of no match day collections, Liverpool have stepped up.

The club pledging to donate £10,000 to Fans Supporting Foodbanks on Merseyside, every time there is a home match day when there should have been a game.

Manchester United official statement – Thursday 19 March 2020:

Manchester United will pay all its loyal matchday and non-matchday casual workers, should Premier League games be cancelled or played behind closed doors for the remainder of this season.

This goodwill gesture reflects the club’s desire to reduce the financial uncertainty facing its casual workforce, and is in recognition of the crucial role they play in delivering services to supporters.

All Premier League games are currently suspended until at least 30 April.

Discussions are ongoing with the Premier League about what will happen to games after that date, including the four remaining games scheduled to be played at Old Trafford this season.

The goodwill payment will be made to all matchday and non-matchday casual workers who have worked for the club in the past three months.

Ed Woodward, Executive Vice Chairman, said: “We rely on our outstanding staff to deliver an exceptional service and experience to fans at Old Trafford.

“We understand that these are unprecedented circumstances and want to give them security whatever may happen regarding our remaining fixtures this season. We look forward to welcoming back all our supporters – and our colleagues – to Old Trafford as soon as possible.”

Crystal Palace official statement – Wednesday 18 March 2020:

Chairman Steve Parish has issued the following update.

‘Following my message two days ago, I wanted to provide further clarity on two areas relating to our staff.

Firstly, in order to ensure the impact of this health crisis is minimised, we will not be placing any of our colleagues on statutory sick pay for health issues relating to COVID-19 during this crisis.

We are also aware of the impact on matchday casual staff where games are cancelled or played behind closed doors. Whilst we are not anticipating this to be the case, we will ensure that matchday staff who would have been employed by the club for these fixtures are not disadvantaged financially.

Once again I wish everybody the very best as we all adapt to the situation.’

Steve Parish

Brighton and Hove Albion official statement – 13 March 2020:

Brighton & Hove Albion have committed to pay staff who are unable to work due to the coronavirus, including more than six hundred regular casual staff who work for the club on matchdays.

In a show of loyalty to the club’s workforce, chief executive and deputy chairman Paul Barber agreed the measure with the club’s board of directors during an emergency conference call this afternoon, set up following the Premier League meeting earlier today when it was decided to postpone fixtures until 4th April.

Barber explained, “We have more than six hundred matchday staff, who regularly work for us at the stadium on matchdays like tomorrow would have been.

“We have had to cancel their work at really short notice, and we know that their work and pay is really important.

“We have taken the decision as a club to continue paying the vast majority of our matchday staff for the remainder of the season, whether or not we play the five remaining Premier League games.

“We feel that is really important, whether we play the games in a full stadium, behind closed doors or at all. We want those staff to know they’ve got their pay coming to them.

“That is a small thing we can do. The vast majority of people we employ are local people so it is important we support them, and through them our local economy, at a difficult time and hopefully give them some reassurance, regardless of what else happens, that they still have that income from us to come.”

Albion are also telling full-time staff to work from home where possible from Monday, and to minimise risk in whatever ways possible.

Those coming into work are following strict protocols and measures in place for the past two weeks in order to minimise risk and protect players as much as possible.

Barber also confirmed all the club’s players and coaching staff across all teams are currently fit and well.

He added, “We have sent home staff who don’t need to be here in the office, both at the stadium and training ground.

“If people do report sick, show symptoms of the virus, come into contact with the virus or think they have the virus, then we have plans in place to self-isolate.

“There is a contingency plan in place. We have been fortunate that there have been no cases amongst our players or first-team staff. We do have five members of staff self-isolating which is a precautionary measure for a range of different reasons – either due to travel reasons or contact with potential cases – but none are showing symptoms of the virus at this stage.”

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