Liverpool chief admits regret over controversial plan to furlough club

‘We got it wrong’: Liverpool chairman Tom Werner admits regret over plan to furlough club staff before fans’ backlash prompted U-turn

  • Tom Werner has admitted Liverpool made a mistake over plan to furlough staff 
  • Fenway Sports Group, the Liverpool owners, faced fierce criticism in April
  • Furious backlash from fans and former players led FSG to reverse their decision

Chairman Tom Werner has admitted Liverpool made a mistake when they announced plans to furlough staff, but hopes the quick U-turn shows their commitment to the club.

Fenway Sports Group, the Liverpool owners, faced fierce criticism at the beginning of April when they revealed they would take advantage of the Government scheme paying 80 per cent of wages up to £2,500 a month.

The furious backlash from fans and former players led FSG to reverse their decision within 48 hours, reminiscent of when they changed their stance on raising ticket prices to as much as £77 — which led to a mass walkout at Anfield in February 2016.

Chairman Tom Werner has admitted Liverpool made a mistake over plan to furlough staff

‘It’s better to admit a mistake than to dig your heels in,’ Werner said.

‘Hopefully people will know that all we really care about is trying to support the fans and support our players and our club in a way that is sustainable.’

Werner, who is one of the key figures at FSG alongside John W Henry and Mike Gordon, is approaching 10 years in charge of Liverpool and these unprecedented times have him yearning for football to resume.

‘It’s a terrible situation we’re all in,’ he said. ‘Someday, hopefully, there will be a vaccine and we can return to the joy of being in a stadium and watching the elegant play of great football players.

Liverpool performed a dramatic U-turn on their decision to furlough non-playing staff

‘The most important thing is safety and the Premier League are working on protocols. But there’s a hole in so many people’s lives. Football is central to their dreams and their hopes.

‘Certainly, as regards to Liverpool, we are playing magnificent football and we are just a couple of matches away from winning the trophy. But I do put it in perspective.’

Liverpool were on the brink of administration when FSG won the battle to buy the club from Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

The last three years have been their most successful, with Jurgen Klopp’s side winning the Club World Cup, the European Super Cup and, best of all, the Champions League.

The last three years have been the club’s most successful under Jurgen Klopp’s 

‘The 4-0 win over Barcelona (in the semi-final) was the single greatest sporting event I’ve ever seen,’ Werner said. ‘The reaction our supporters had in the stadium that day and around the world is something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

‘I thought I could never imagine experiencing anything like (the parade that followed the 2-0 win over Tottenham in the final).

‘Then somebody said, “Well if we win the Premier League, this parade will be dwarfed”. I’m looking forward to a parade when we can all congregate again.’ 




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UFC chief Dana White hits back at veteran boxing promoter Bob Arum

‘Everybody realises that Bob Arum is a d*******’: UFC chief Dana White hits back at veteran boxing promoter, claiming 88-year-old has ‘completely destroyed’ boxing

  • UFC chief Dana White has brutally hit back at Bob Arum, calling him a d******* 
  • Arum hit out at White and his efforts to stage UFC 249 despite the health risks
  • White claimed Arum has ‘completely destroyed’ boxing in a withering response
  • UFC 249 is due to go ahead this weekend, despite the health and safety risks
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

UFC chief Dana White has hit back at veteran boxing promoter Bob Arum, calling him a d******* and claiming he has ‘completely destroyed’ boxing.

The war of words between the two promoters continued last week when Arum hit out at White and his efforts to stage UFC 249 despite the health and safety risks due to the coronavirus crisis.

White has yielded plenty of criticism for his promotion’s handling of the crisis, with the 50-year-old fighting tooth and nail to save UFC 249 before it was eventually postponed and now rescheduled for Saturday night in Jacksonville, Florida. 

UFC chief Dana White has brutally hit back at Bob Arum, calling the 88-year-old a d*******

Arum said he ‘has no respect for White’ and slammed his ‘cowboy behaviour’ during the crisis

Arum, who handles Tyson Fury’s affairs in the United States, slammed White for his ‘cowboy behaviour’ and now White has hit back at the 88-year-old, even taking aim at his financial situation. 

‘Listen I think by now that everybody realises that Bob Arum is a d***head,’ White told the UFC Unfiltered podcast.

‘This guy has been talking s**t about the UFC and me for 20 years.

‘He’s f*****g bankrupt, this guy, he’s f*****g bankrupt! You don’t want to put fights on, you can’t afford to put fights on you f*****g j***-off!

‘You’ve been in this thing your whole life and you’ve completely destroyed the business and the sport.

‘Congratulations Bob Arum, you’re brilliant.’  

The UFC will stage UFC 249 on May 9 in Jacksonville, Florida, despite strong criticism

UFC 249 has been littered with problems due to the pandemic. Brooklyn’s Barclays Center pulled out of hosting duties to the high number of deaths in New York City and while most sports were grinding to a halt, White persisted in his bid to see the two rivals square off on the original date.

Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was later forced to pull out of the contest having returned home to Russia and being unable to re-enter the United States due to strict border control, but White roped in lightweight contender Justin Gaethje to step in to face Tony Ferguson.

The UFC chief then had found a mysterious location – ‘Fight Island’ – to host the event before executives from ESPN and Disney stepped in and told him to call off the event.

White then insisted the UFC would be ‘the first sport back on television’ and has scheduled UFC 249 to take place on Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida. 

The card will see Ferguson face Gaethje for the interim lightweight title, while Henry Cejudo and Dominic Cruz will fight for the bantamweight belt. 




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BHA put their trust in chief executive Nick Rust

‘He has our full and unequivocal support’: BHA give their backing to chief executive Nick Rust after trainers call for him to resign over handling of response to Covid-19

  • A number trainers feel that BHA chief executive Nick Rust should resign 
  • Mark Johnston and Ralph Beckett emailed BHA chairman Annamarie Phelps  
  • They and other trainers criticised Rust’s efforts to get the sport back operating 
  • Emails saids Rust and his team were ‘too concerned with public perception’
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

The British Horseracing Authority’s board has said chief executive Nick Rust has their ‘unequivocal support’ after a series of explosive emails from trainers calling for his resignation over the handling of the sport’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak were published in a Sunday newspaper.

The leaked emails from trainers Mark Johnston and Ralph Beckett but claiming support among the wider training community, were among a cache sent to BHA chairman Annamarie Phelps.

They included claims that Rust and his team were ‘more concerned with public perception than its participants’ in their efforts to get a sport under damaging financial pressure because of the shutdown back operating.

The BHA’s board has said chief executive Nick Rust has their ‘unequivocal support’

Rust, 52, is working through a year’s notice after announcing he would be leaving the role in January.

The emails, which also included the claim that ‘Nick is looking after his future in this instance, but his future is not ours’, prompted an unscheduled BHA board meeting on Sunday.

The concern will be that the image of self-interest and disunity might undermine the sports’ proposals to return under restrictions in a week when BHA chief medical officer Jerry Hill is expected to meet with government officials to outline plans.

The statement from the BHA Board, which includes retired Derby winning trainer Luca Cumani, said: ‘The Board, which includes members nominated by the organisations representing horsemen and racecourses, understands the pressures on all in racing at present and recognises that BHA executives benefit from constructive feedback from participants.

Ralph Beckett was one of a number of trainers to call for Rust to hand in his resignation

‘There will be very few sports or businesses in which similar dialogue isn’t going on given the nature of the crisis.

‘The Board asks that to be done in accordance with racing’s values, to be respectful and not single out individuals unfairly for carrying out their role.

‘The racing industry, like everyone at this time, puts the health of the public and our participants first. This was clear in our decision to suspend racing and is a central focus of our planning for resumption.

‘Nick, his team, and the industry colleagues with whom they are working so closely, are looking forward and are united in wanting the sport to resume as soon as it is possible. They have the Board’s full and unequivocal support.’

A conciliatory tone was also struck by National Trainers Federation chief executive Rupert Arnold, who said: ‘With such a high degree of uncertainty for the nation and livelihoods under threat, everyone has an opinion on the best way forward.  

Mark Johnston was also critical of Rust’s efforts to get the sport back operating

‘Often they express it with passion and urgency. Since the emails were written, racing’s plan for resumption has been developed further through trust and collaboration.

‘We have a good story to present to the Government, showing how our sport can be staged safely. We need to look forward and come together behind the plan.’

Johnston said: ‘Nobody has made any suggestion that racing should be treated differently from other industries or we should or ignore or flout Government guidelines or directions.

‘We are basically calling for a restart of racing when appropriate within Government guidelines and proper, confident leadership from the BHA to achieve that.’


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Ex-transfer chief reveals just how close Arsenal came to signing Vardy

Arsenal completed deal to sign Jamie Vardy in 2016 before Leicester striker made a last-minute U-turn, reveals Ex-Emirates transfer chief Dick Law

  • Arsenal wanted to sign Jamie Vardy after he fired Leicester to the title in 2015-16
  • Former Arsenal transfer chief Dick Law tried to broker the deal to sign Vardy
  • He revealed the deal was completed before Vardy changed his mind overnight 

Former Arsenal transfer chief Dick Law has revealed just how close Leicester striker Jamie Vardy came to moving to the Emirates Stadium in 2016.

Arsenal had identified Vardy as a prime target after he fired Leicester to the Premier League title in the 2015-16 season.

Vardy bagged 24 goals and set the record for scoring in consecutive Premier League games, netting in 11 successive matches.

Arsenal came incredibly close to signing Jamie Vardy from Leicester after the 2015-16 season

Vardy’s 24 goals that campaign fired Leicester to an unlikely Premier League triumph

(All Competitions)

Games: 300

Goals: 126

Assists: 51

Arsene Wenger was in need of bolstering his attack and wanted to bring Vardy to the club.

Law, who spent 13 years at Arsenal between 2005 and 2018, was in charge of brokering the deal and has now revealed how the striker was ready to sign before making a last-minute U-turn. 

Speaking to The Athletic, Law said: ‘The deal with Leicester was done, the deal with the player was done.

‘He came down to visit with his wife Rebekah, he sat on the couch in front of Arsene… and then he backed off.

‘On his way back to Leicester I get a call from the player saying he wants to think about it overnight.’

‘At that point, you know it’s bad news.’

Arsene Wenger wanted to bring him to Arsenal but Dick Law said Vardy changed his mind

Vardy has enjoyed another prolific season, and has scored 19 times for Leicester this term

Vardy instead opted to remain at Leicester where he has etched his name into the club’s folklore.

The former England international has been a star player for Leicester over the years and was on the verge of helping the club return to the Champions League before football was suspended due to the coronavirus crisis.

Arsenal, meanwhile, were teetering in ninth before the enforced break and look set to miss out on European football altogether.

Vardy has enjoyed another prolific season, scoring 19 times for Leicester. 




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Lyon chief assures he's doing all he can to persuade Depay to stay

‘I will do everything’: Lyon chief Jean-Michel Aulas assures fans he is doing all he can to persuade Memphis Depay to stay at Ligue 1 side with his contract due to expire in 2021

  • Lyon’s chairman said he will do ‘everything’ to keep Memphis Depay at the club
  • Jean-Michel Aulas took to Twitter to say he ‘trusts’ the in-form striker 
  • Depay’s current deal with Lyon expires in 2021 and he wants a big money move

Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas has said he will do ‘everything’ he can to persuade talisman Memphis Depay to stay at the club. 

Depay has not been quiet about his desire to move to a bigger club in the future and his current deal with the Ligue 1 side expires in 2021. 

But Aulas is hopeful the striker will stay at the club and sign a new deal, as he stated he ‘trusts him’. 

Lyon’s chairman has said he will do ‘everything’ he can to keep Memphis Depay at the club

Jean-Michel Aulas tweeted that he ‘trusts’ the striker who has had a great season in Ligue 1

On Twitter, the club’s chief said: ‘I really hope that Memphis will remain in the OL family for a long time to come. 

‘I will do everything for that. Memphis knows what I’m up for, I trust him.’ 

Depay’s contract with the French side runs out in 2021 and he wants to move to a bigger club

The Holland international made a big money move to Manchester United in 2015 from PSV Eindhoven, but he failed to settle in at Old Trafford. 

Depay has scored nine goals and got two assists from his 12 Ligue 1 performances this season.  




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