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Club update – COVID-19

Mon 13 April 2020, 13:00|Tottenham Hotspur

Following yet another difficult week for our country, our thoughts continue to be with those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our profound thanks go to the NHS and all key workers for the invaluable roles they are fulfilling at this critical time.

The footballing world is now recognising the current and potential future impact of the pandemic. It has destabilised businesses, clubs and the sport we all love – along with the rest of the football eco-system and its dependents.

All clubs will be facing different pressures. The cessation of our Club’s operations, particularly given our stadium’s use as a multi-purpose venue, has come at a challenging time for us.

In addition to the postponement of football, we have had rugby, concerts, boxing events and conferences postponed or cancelled. Since our results for the year end 30 June 2019, our net debt has risen, as anticipated, as we continued to invest in the team and completed budgeted capital projects.

In these uncertain times, we have to ensure we are in a position to meet our financial obligations and protect the Club’s ability to be able to operate when football returns. However, we also need, importantly, to support our wider communities and the NHS. This has been a week when we have worked hard to do both.

In our last update we said we would keep our position under review, especially in the context of revised budgets and cost cutting. Having done so we have decided that all non-playing staff, whether full-time, casual or furloughed, will receive 100 per cent of their pay for April and May. Only the Board will take salary reductions.

With no clarity on when football might resume and under what conditions, we shall continue to keep this under on-going review. We should like to thank our staff for their incredible support and understanding.

We are acutely aware that many supporters were against the decision we made regarding furloughing staff who could not carry out their jobs from home - due to the nature of their work - and our intention to apply, if applicable, for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), a scheme  designed to ensure that jobs and employment rights are protected.

Indeed we have seen opposition from fans to fellow Premier League clubs accessing the CJRS too.  This once again underlines that we bear different pressures to other businesses, many of whom have and will continue to apply for support from the scheme as the Government intended.

In view of supporter sentiment regarding the scheme, it is now not our intention to make use of the current CJRS that runs until the end of May. We shall consult with stakeholders, including the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust with whom we have been in dialogue over the past week and who share our desire to protect jobs, should circumstances change going forward.

Daniel Levy, Chairman: “The criticism the Club has received over the last week has been felt all the more keenly because of our track record of good works and our huge sense of responsibility to care for those that rely on us, particularly locally.

“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.”

Equipment has now been installed in our stadium to operate drive-through COVID-19 testing and swabbing for NHS staff, families and their dependents. Our Tottenham Hotspur Stadium becomes the first Premier League ground to be used for testing, following on from other sporting venues around the world.

Additionally, the stadium has been re-purposed and fitted out to house the North Middlesex Hospital’s Women’s Outpatient Services, freeing up much-needed capacity at the hospital itself to treat patients with COVID symptoms, whilst supporting the redirection of pregnant women away from the hospital during the pandemic.

This will result in recognisable areas of our stadium being transformed for clinical use:

• Our Media Entrance and Café will be used as a main reception and welfare area for visitors and NHS staff.
• The NFL Away changing room areas will be used as a Maternal Day Unit.
• Our Flash interview rooms off of the players’ tunnel – where post-match TV interviews are normally conducted – as well as the referees’ area, will be used as consultation and scanning rooms.
• The football Away dressing room area will be used as a Midwives Clinical Room and staff Admin Office.

The stadium’s ‘pitch pocket’ in the basement has for several weeks now been used as a distribution hub by the London Food Alliance – a new scheme set up to ensure food supplies for the most vulnerable people within the capital.

Vegetable produce from our Kitchen Garden at the Training Centre is being provided to the food distribution hub.

Our staff have been already been, and others will be joining them, volunteering to support the NHS activities at the stadium.

This weekend also saw the Design, Technology and Engineering equipment in the Club-funded London Academy of Excellence Tottenham, based alongside the Club’s offices at Lilywhite House, being used to produce protective face shields for the NHS. Thanks to the work of the DT staff of the LAET’s education sponsor, Highgate School, our local hospitals have taken delivery of the first 950 face shields with 1,000 expected to be produced weekly. We have always been proud of the staff and the school – never more so now.

Our Foundation will continue to deliver its programmes online - including virtual sessions for:

- Those on its ‘Move 4 You’ cancer rehabilitation programme.
- Virtual seated exercise classes delivered within local elderly care homes.
- Employment advice and up-skilling activities.
- Functional Skills courses.
- Personal development and character-building activities.

Foundation staff are being trained to undertake a series of phone calls to those considered most vulnerable across our local Boroughs, including those who would normally be engaged in Foundation projects.

We are committed to playing our part to ensure the best possible outcomes for our communities during these unprecedented times.

Stay home. Stay safe. Protect the NHS.