Players will be asked to take 30% pay cut
English Premier League clubs will ask their players to take a 30 per cent pay cut to assist with the payment of non-playing staff during the coronavirus pandemic.
Players and clubs have come under fire after as non-playing staff have been furloughed while players’ wages have been untouched.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said on Thursday footballers should “take a pay cut and play their part”.
Premier League shareholders met on Friday and confirmed talks will be held with a view to wage cuts. It was also acknowledged that the season could not begin in May, with the restart date to be kept under constant review.
“In the face of substantial and continuing losses for the 2019-20 season since the suspension of matches began, and to protect employment throughout the professional game, Premier League clubs unanimously agreed to consult their players regarding a combination of conditional reductions and deferrals amounting to 30 per cent of total annual remuneration,” a statement from the Premier League read.
“This guidance will be kept under constant review as circumstances change. The league will be in regular contact with the PFA and the union will join a meeting which will be held tomorrow between the league, players and club representatives.”
On the subject of the season restarting, the statement said: “It was acknowledged that the Premier League will not resume at the beginning of May – and that the 2019-20 season will only return when it is safe and appropriate to do so. The restart date is under constant review with all stakeholders, as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic develops and we work together through this very challenging time.”
The Premier League also announced its intention to assist the EFL and the National League, with clubs at that level hardest hit by the loss of matchday revenue.
“Discussions also took place regarding financial relief for clubs in the short term and while there is no single solution, measures are to be put in place to immediately deal with the impact of falling cash flow,” the statement said. “Critically, the league unanimously voted to advance funds of £125m to the EFL and National League as it is aware of the severe difficulties clubs throughout the football pyramid are suffering at this time.”
The EFL said in a statement: “The EFL also notes and appreciates the decision taken today by the Premier League in respect of the short-term financial relief it is to provide EFL clubs through the advancement of solidarity payments, parachute payments and academy Grants. These actions will have a positive impact on individual clubs across our three divisions at a difficult and uncertain time.”
A further £20m will be committed to the NHS, and others left vulnerable by the pandemic. The statement added: “This includes a direct financial contribution to the NHS and funds to enable clubs to refocus their efforts and develop significant outreach programmes to help communities, including those most in need. This funding will enable both immediate and longer-term support during the crisis.”
It comes after Premier League captains discussed how best to help support and fund the NHS at a meeting on Friday.
Football has come under increasing scrutiny as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to escalate, with health secretary Hancock taking aim at top-flight players’ supposed inaction in Thursday’s daily briefing. But discussions between Premier League players were under way days before those comments and the captains of all 20 Premier League clubs held a meeting to discuss the situation.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson helped organise what is a collective, league-wide effort, with the players’ ability to help worthy causes during the escalating situation high on the agenda.
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