Tottenham Hotspur have announced that all 550 non-playing staff have seen their salary cut by 20 per cent and put on furlough “where appropriate” in order to cope with the financial crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement issued on Tuesday morning, chairman Daniel Levy confirmed that the club were turning to the Government’s furlough scheme in order to “protect jobs”, with those involved set to be paid 80 per cent of their wages through April and May at the very least. The decision will also be continually reviewed, should the financial struggles continue into the summer.
It was revealed on Tuesday that Levy received a £3m bonus last year for the completion of Tottenham’s new stadium, which was added to his £4m-a-year salary – up from £3m in 2018 – thanks largely to one of the club’s most successful season’s in history as they reached the Champions League final and finished in the top four for the fourth consecutive season.
But Levy has revealed that “the club’s operations have effectively ceased”, resulting in their reserves being required to pay the “annual running cost of hundreds of millions” with little income being generated after all games were suspended until at least 30 April.
Spurs borrowed £637m for the development of the £1bn Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and although the majority of that fee was converted by Levy into a bond scheme that will see approximately £525m repaid 15 to 30 years’s time, the club are also still paying former manager Mauricio Pochettino following his sacking earlier this season.
Levy also confirmed that the salary cuts do not apply to the playing squad or Jose Mourinho’s management team, but with talks ongoing between the Premier League, Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) and League Managers’ Association (LMA), the Spurs chairman put pressure on players to take measures themselves to reduce their salaries.
“The club’s operations have effectively ceased, some of our fans will have lost their jobs and most will be worried about their future,” Levy said in a statement.
“Our sponsors will be concerned about their businesses and our media partners have no certainty when we may play games again or whether we will be allowed to play in front of our fans. In the meantime, the club has an annual cost base running into hundreds of millions of pounds.
“We have seen some of the biggest clubs in the world such as Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus take steps to reduce their costs. Yesterday, having already taken steps to reduce costs, we ourselves made the difficult decision – in order to protect jobs – to reduce the remuneration of all 550 non-playing directors and employees for April and May by 20 per cent utilising, where appropriate, the Government’s furlough scheme. We shall continue to review this position.”
Tottenham currently boast the seventh-highest wage bill in the Premier League, paying an average of just under £4m per player each season, and Levy put pressure on the squad to take a similar approach and reduce their wages where possible.
“We hope the current discussions between the Premier League, PFA and LMA will result in players and coaches doing their bit for the football eco system,” he added.
Levy attempted to put the club’s struggles into perspective with the current coronavirus pandemic, which has seen more than 37,000 dead due to Covid-19 and multiple nations including the United Kingdom placed into lockdown in an effort to combat the spread of the virus.
“The decision by governments around the world to effectively close down economies with unheard-of peacetime impacts on civil liberties in order to minimise the terrible effects of the Covid-19 pandemic is the right one to protect human lives,” he said. “The crushing devastation on industries in many countries, the inter-dependence of international trade and travel in every aspect of our daily life is only now beginning to be felt. Every person on this planet will be affected and in my lifetime I cannot think of something so impactful.
“When I read or hear stories about player transfers this summer like nothing has happened, people need to wake up to the enormity of what is happening around us. With over 786,000 infected, nearly 38,000 deaths and large segments of the world in lockdown we need to realise that football cannot operate in a bubble. We may be the eighth largest club in the world by revenue according to the Deloitte survey but all that historical data is totally irrelevant as this virus has no boundaries.”
He added: “I have no doubt we will get through this crisis but life will take some time to get back to normal. I hope we will never take for granted so many basic things such as getting off the train at Seven Sisters, walking along Tottenham High Road, entering our stadium with our family and friends, and buying a beer and pie ahead of watching Spurs play at home.
“Many families will have lost loved ones, many businesses will have been destroyed, millions of jobs lost and many clubs whether big or small may struggle to exist. It is incumbent on me as chairman to ensure we do everything we can to protect our employees, our fans, our partners, our club for future generations – and equally important – our wider community where we have such an immense sense of responsibility.
“I wish everyone good health, a speedy return to normal life and watching Spurs at home in front of our fans. Stay safe.”
Levy, who will take a 20 per cent pay cut amounting to around £700,000 over the next two months, was revealed as the club’s “highest-paid director: in accounts filed to Companies House. They revealed a pay rise of £3m to £4m, plus a deferred £3m bonus, which came as a result of the 61,000-seat stadium opening its doors.