(Reuters) - Premier League leaders Liverpool have furloughed some of their non-playing staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are holding talks about the prospect of salary deductions for players and senior staff, the club said on Saturday.
Liverpool added on their website that the furloughed staff would continue to receive 100% of their salaries.
Several English top-flight clubs, such as Tottenham Hotspur, Bournemouth and Newcastle United, have already put non-playing staff on furlough, with football's return in England contingent on medical guidance and government support.
"Liverpool FC has placed some staff who are impacted by the Premier League suspension on furlough," the European champions said in a statement https://www.liverpoolfc.com/news/announcements/392185-liverpool-fc-statement-covid-19-update.
"The club has confirmed those staff will be paid 100% of their salaries to ensure no member of staff is financially disadvantaged."
Furloughed British workers can claim 80% of their wages up to 2,500 pounds ($3,065) per month as part of the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which means Liverpool will top up the remaining 20% of salaries for furloughed staff.
The Premier League said on Friday its clubs would consult with their players over a proposed 30% reduction in wages. but talks on Saturday yielded no progress.
Liverpool said salary deductions were being discussed and there was "a collective commitment at senior levels of the club" to secure jobs for employees.
"These discussions are complex and as a result the process is ongoing," the club added.
The club's decision was criticised by former player, turned television pundit, Jamie Carragher.
“(Liverpool manager) Jurgen Klopp showed compassion for all at the start of this pandemic, senior players heavily involved in @premierleague players taking wage cuts,” he tweeted.
“Then all that respect & goodwill is lost, poor this @LFC."
Another former player, ex-Germany international Dietmar Hamann, was also critical.
"Astonished by the news that @lfc takes advantage of the furlough scheme to claim 80% of non playing staff's wages back off the government. That’s not what the scheme was designed for. Contrary to the morals and values of the club I got to know," he wrote on twitter.
The United Kingdom's hospital death toll from the coronavirus rose by 20% to 4,313 at 1600 GMT on April 3, the health ministry said on Saturday.
As of 0800 GMT on April 4, a total of 183,190 people had been tested of which 41,903 were positive.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris and Toby Davis)