Shearer on City call to furlough staff during coronavirus shutdown

Alan Shearer is the Premier League's all-time top goalscorer Picture: James Bass/Archant

Alan Shearer is the Premier League's all-time top goalscorer Picture: James Bass/Archant - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2005

Premier League legend Alan Shearer has defended Norwich City’s decision to furlough some members of staff in the midst of the global pandemic.

City were one of the first top-flight clubs to use the government scheme as they ‘safeguard future jobs and help sustain the club’ during football’s shutdown.

Norwich pledged to top up the money available from the scheme to ensure all furloughed staff receive their usual salary in full.

Liverpool opted to reverse their original decision to follow suit, after widespread criticism from politicians and the wider public.

Shearer feels it is unfair to single out clubs who do not possess the same wealth as elite rivals.

“What is right for Norwich, or clubs further down the pyramid who are going to struggle to survive this crisis, is not necessarily right for the so-called bigger clubs,” said the Premier League’s record goalscorer and now respected BBC pundit.

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“Despite this, many clubs are doing great things in their local communities right now and they should be applauded for that.

“It is a shame to see some Premier League clubs furloughing staff, when it seems avoidable.

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“The scheme was not brought in to help companies who have made millions of pounds in the past few years. It was meant for smaller businesses who could go bust, and whose staff might not have a job to go back to otherwise.

“Liverpool have already reversed their decision, but there are other Premier League clubs who do not come out of this too well with the decision they have made and, so far, stuck with.”

Shearer delivered his verdict in a BBC Sport column, where he expressed his wish the English season can eventually resume.

“We have to wait until it is safe, though. And no-one has any choice but to sit tight and wait, because we are all just guessing when that might be,” he said. “Football does not seem important right now, but at the same time we are all looking forward to the day it resumes again. It will be a sign that life is getting back to normal.

“When it does, I hope we can get this season finished.

“The Premier League has said that it is going to explore every possible angle to try to complete the campaign and will only look at other options as a last resort, which at this stage is the right thing to do.

“I think everyone is trying to be as committed as possible to getting the season finished at some stage, whether that is in June, July or August.”

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