Norwich City defend furlough decision and could lose up to £35m

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April 26, 2020
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    Norwich and Sheffield United

    Norwich’s last game before the suspension of English football was a 1-0 loss at Sheffield United on 7 March

    Norwich City will “stick to their guns” on a decision to furlough non-playing staff, with the club expected to lose up to £35m because of coronavirus.

    The Canaries and Newcastle are the only Premier League clubs currently using the government’s job retention scheme.

    Norwich say the suspension of football will cost them between £18m and £35m.

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

    “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.”

    Under the scheme, 200 members of Norwich’s non-playing staff, including casual workers, are paid 80% of their wages by the government, with the club paying the other 20%.

    Norwich, who were bottom of the Premier League with nine games remaining and in the FA Cup quarter-finals when the football season was suspended on 3 April, estimate a loss of £1.5m for each of their six remaining home fixtures, should all remaining games be played behind closed doors.

    And the club expect to lose between a further £10m and £25m from potential Premier League rebates to broadcasters.

    The Canaries hope to make £2.5m of savings and have agreed with HMRC to delay £18m of repayments of VAT and PAYE, while players, head coach Daniel Farke, the executive committee and directors have donated more than £200,000 towards local initiatives.

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    Premier League clubs Liverpool, Tottenham and Bournemouth had initially furloughed staff, but reversed their decisions following criticism.

    “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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    April 26, 2020
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