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Black Cats and Crewe squads are furloughed

TWO English Football League clubs yesterday placed their first-team squads on furlough as pressure grew on Tottenham to reverse their decision to do the same to some non-playing staff.

League One Sunderland said they had ‘no intention’ of asking players or coaching staff to defer wages or accept a cut, and are committed to ensure all staff are paid in full by topping up salaries.

League Two leaders Crewe are running a skeleton staff ‘to protect the long-term financial viability of the club’.

Liverpool and Tottenham, the Premier League’s two most profitable clubs last season, have attracted widespread criticism for their furloughing of non-playing staff. Liverpool have since performed a U-turn, after which the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust urged their club to follow suit, tweeting: ‘Do not further damage the club’s reputation, listen to your fans.’

Julian Knight, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, was critical of some clubs’ use of furlough.

He said: ‘It is frankly laughable to think that clubs are showing restraint on use of government money to pay non-playing staff and flies in the face of public opinion. Liverpool has listened to fans, done the right thing and changed its mind. It is time for the Premier League to stop defending the indefensible.’