Manchester United are not expected to follow Liverpool’s widely-condemned decision to furlough staff during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Old Trafford club have been proactive in trying to ease the financial worries of supporters and staff since the outbreak and it is believed they will not seek the aid of the government’s job retention scheme like other Premier League clubs.
Tottenham and Newcastle have also placed staff on furlough but it is Liverpool who have garnered most criticism for taking advantage of the bailout.
The Premier League champions-elect are one of the richest clubs in the world and announced a pre-tax profit of £42 million in February.
Even their own fans and former players have hit out at them, with Jamie Carragher saying “respect and goodwill is lost,” while Stan Collymore has claimed supporters will be “disgusted”.
Executive vice chairman Ed Woodward and United’s owners, the Glazers, continue to come in for fierce criticism from supporters over the club’s decline since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
Woodward’s own home was targeted by protesters armed with flares in January, but their handling of the Covid-19 outbreak has been widely commended.
They were quick to reimburse fans in the region of £245,000 when their Europa League tie with LASK was ordered to be played behind closed doors at a late stage last month.
Casual staff were then assured a combined pay out of around £1m if this season’s remaining home fixtures are cancelled or played in front of empty stadiums. And supporters have also been offered pro rata refunds or rebates on season tickets if those measures are implemented.
United’s commercial strength is also a reason why they are under little pressure to follow the lead set by European giants Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Juventus by asking players to take wage cuts.
While the Premier League has opened negotiations with players to give up 30 per cent of their salary, that has been part of a collective decision among top flight clubs.
It is believed United’s players were already in discussion over giving up a portion of their salary to aid the NHS, while Marcus Rashford has helped raise £150,000 to feed children on free school meals during the lockdown.