Premier League clubs lobby players to take 30 percent pay hit

Jordan Henderson, left, celebrating with Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp, has reportedly led a meeting of Premier League captains to arrange an extra charity fighting fund for the NHS. (Reuters)
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Updated 03 April 2020

Premier League clubs lobby players to take 30 percent pay hit

  • Health secretary Matt Hancock said on Thursday footballers should take a pay cut and play their part
  • Tottenham’s decision to furlough 550 staff on Tuesday came on the same day it was revealed chairman Daniel Levy was paid £7 million last season

LONDON: Premier League clubs will ask players to take a combination of pay cuts and deferrals amounting to 30 percent of their annual salary due to the financial crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the league said in a statement on Friday.
The English top flight’s highly-paid stars have come under increasing pressure to take pay cuts from government officials in recent days after four clubs said they would use public money to subsidise pay for non-playing staff.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said on Thursday footballers should “take a pay cut and play their part.”
Tottenham, Newcastle, Norwich and Bournemouth planned to use the UK government’s furlough scheme to pay 80 percent of wages of non-playing staff up to a maximum of £2,500 ($3,100) a month.
The average salary for a Premier League player is £3 million a year, according to the latest Global Sports Salaries survey.
“Premier League clubs unanimously agreed to consult their players regarding a combination of conditional reductions and deferrals amounting to 30 percent of total annual remuneration,” the Premier League said in a statement.
The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) will meet with league and club officials to discuss the proposal on Saturday.
A meeting between the league’s 20 clubs also agreed to indefinitely extend the suspension of the season until it is “safe and appropriate” for football to return.
The clubs are desperate for the season to be finished if possible to avoid the potential of having to reimburse broadcasters a reported £760 million ($942 million) if they fail to fulfil fixtures for television contracts.
“There is a combined objective for all remaining domestic league and cup matches to be played, enabling us to maintain the integrity of each competition,” the statement added.
“However, any return to play will only be with the full support of Government and when medical guidance allows.”
Despite their own financial troubles, Premier League clubs agreed to provide a £125 million fund for the English Football League and National League to help those further down the football pyramid.
A £20 million charitable donation will also be provided to help those affected by coronavirus.
Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson has reportedly led a meeting of Premier League captains to arrange an extra charity fighting fund for the National Health Service (NHS) made up of player donations on top of any wage cuts or deferrals agreed with the PFA.
The PFA believes players should not be used as scapegoats for clubs who have chosen to furlough non-playing staff despite having the means to continue paying them 100 percent of their salary.
Tottenham’s decision to furlough 550 staff on Tuesday came on the same day it was revealed chairman Daniel Levy was paid £7 million last season.
“We are aware of the public sentiment that the players should pay non-playing staff’s salaries. However, our current position is that — as businesses — if clubs can afford to pay their players and staff, they should,” the PFA said in a statement.
Julian Knight, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committe, who had labelled the Premier League a “moral vacuum” for using government money believes no top-flight club should now be using the furlough scheme.
“My main concerns were, when I saw the Spurs and Newcastle stories, it sticks in the throat to have taxpayers in any way funding the economic model of the Premier League, which is not in the real world.
“That does stick in the throat, because we’re going to need that money for the NHS, and we’re going to need that money when we come out of this.”


English Premier League to restart on June 17

Updated 17 min 51 sec ago

English Premier League to restart on June 17

  • No matches have been played since Leicester’s 4-0 win over Aston Villa on March 9

LONDON: The Premier League season is set to restart on June 17, three months after it was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, British media reported on Thursday.

No matches have been played since Leicester's 4-0 win over Aston Villa on March 9, with Liverpool just two wins away from securing the title.

Top-flight clubs voted unanimously on Wednesday to return to contact training and were meeting again on Thursday to discuss issues such as the restart date and the rebate to broadcasters.

Matches would have to be played behind closed doors, much like they have been in Germany's Bundesliga since it restarted earlier in May.

The BBC reported that the first two matches would be Aston Villa v Sheffield United and Manchester City v Arsenal. Those matches are the two games in hand.

A full fixture list would then be played on the weekend of June 19-21.

So far, 12 people have tested positive for coronavirus after 2,752 tests across the Premier League.

La Liga in Spain hopes to return from June 11, while a crucial summit between Italian football officials and the country's sports minister will be held later on Thursday.

Liverpool were 25 points clear of 2019 champions Manchester City when the Premier league was shut down, on the verge of being crowned English champions for the first time in 30 years.

Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Norwich City are in the relegation places.

The BBC will for the first time air free-of-charge Premier League soccer games live when the season restarts next month, the broadcaster said on Thursday.

"This opportunity creates an historic moment for the BBC and our audiences. At a time when sports fans across the country are in need of lift, this is very welcome news," Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport, said.