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Pressure from players and fans forces Spurs into U-turn

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Tottenham have been under pressure in recent weeks (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Tottenham have been under pressure in recent weeks (Zac Goodwin/PA)

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Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy. Photo: AFP via Getty Images)

Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy. Photo: AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

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Tottenham have been under pressure in recent weeks (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Tottenham Hotspur have joined Liverpool in reversing their decision to furlough non-playing staff, following weeks of sustained criticism from their supporters and objections from senior players.

In a move that will put further pressure on other clubs who have chosen to furlough staff, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy expressed his regret at the original decision in a club statement, which added that only board members would now take pay cuts.

It is understood that first-team players at Tottenham had made it clear to the club's leaders that they were unhappy with the move. Those players are also standing firm in discussions over wage deferrals, with no agreement yet reached with the club.

Tottenham had previously said they would use the UK government's furlough scheme to "protect jobs" as they announced that 550 non-playing staff would take a 20 per cent salary reduction.

Triggered

The subsequent about-turn was triggered by the reaction from players and supporters, which had intensified in recent days. The influential Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust urged the club to reverse their decision last week, saying there was still time to "do the right thing".

Tottenham's staff will continue to receive their full salary, and the club said they would not be making use of the government job retention scheme.

The club added that their Tottenham Hotspur Stadium would become the first Premier League ground to be used for Covid-19 testing for NHS staff and their families.

Levy said: "It was never our intent, as custodians, to do anything other than put measures in place to protect jobs whilst the club sought to continue to operate in a self-sufficient manner during uncertain times.

"We regret any concern caused during an anxious time and hope the work our supporters will see us doing in the coming weeks, as our stadium takes on a whole new purpose, will make them proud of their club."

If Tottenham had not reversed their decision to apply for government money, there would have been further scrutiny on Levy if they went on to invest in the summer transfer market, which will be Jose Mourinho's first summer window as manager.

Newcastle United, Bournemouth, Norwich City and Sheffield United have put non-playing staff on furlough, although Sheffield United are not using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme at this stage.

The Spurs about-turn comes as Gary Neville, the former Manchester United captain, said Premier League clubs who had furloughed staff or cut players' wages should be subjected to a transfer ban this summer.

Tottenham and Liverpool's about-turns have increased the pressure on other clubs who are considering making use of the furlough scheme, and on those who have already done so.

Michael Martin, the founder of influential Newcastle fanzine 'True Faith', said it was a source of "embarrassment" for the club that they were using the furlough scheme.

Telegraph.co.uk