COVID-19: Norwich defend furlough decision

Norwich City have defended their decision to furlough staff and say they will “stick to their guns” as the club is set to lose up to £35m during this period.

The Canaries and Newcastle are currently the only two teams left in the Premier League to continue using the government’s furlough scheme.

Norwich say that the club are set to lose between £18m and £35m during the suspension of football.

“The decision we made was in the best interests of the club and its staff,” chief operating officer Ben Kensell said.

“We’ve been very transparent that we’re run in a self-financed manner. We generate a turnover of £123m – £93m of that is broadcast, and we’ve spent £125m this year – and that’s how we run the club.

“Ultimately, if we had the available cashflow to not have to take up schemes then, like other football clubs have, we would.”

Over 200 Norwich City staff members are currently on furlough leave with the government paying 80% of their wages, and the club making up the other 20%.

The club expect to lose £1.5m for each of their remaining home games should they have to be played between closed doors and expect to pay back between £10-25m to broadcasters in the event of an early season end.

Norwich expect to make a saving of around £2.5m from furloughing staff and have agreed with HMRC to delay VAT and PAYE repayments worth somewhere in the region of £18m.

Norwich players, head coach and executive committee have all played their part in helping fight this disease too, donating over £200,000 towards local initiatives.

Other Premier League clubs in Liverpool, Tottenham and Bournemouth had all used the scheme too, but reversed their decision following a signficant backlash from fans and pundits alike.

“The difference is we’re running it as a business and we’re running it the best way we believe will help it for the future,” said Kensell.

“It’s also about our staff. What we don’t want is a raft of redundancies.

“We knew we’d get criticised as a result of it; what we’re not going to do is take a different view on that. We’ll stick to our guns and we believe we are doing it for the right reasons.

“We’ve got the best owners in football – that’s a fact. We haven’t got the richest owners but we like to think we’re doing things the right way.”

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Kieran Harm
Kieran hails from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and holds a degree in Sports Journalism from the University of Brighton. He covers a range of sports, specialising in football and NFL. Kieran is a long-suffering member of the Toon Army as well as a very proud member of Broncos Country.

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