A member of parliament has slammed ‘morally wrong’ Premier League clubs for furloughing non-playing staff after Tottenham, Newcastle, Norwich and Bournemouth chose to utilise the government’s Coronavirus job retention scheme.
The Premier League quartet announced their plans to cut costs by furloughing non-playing staff amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, a decision which has caused great controversy and seen the clubs involved come under fierce criticism.
Julian Knight – MP for Solihull and chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee – has accused the Premier League sides of being ‘morally wrong’ after continuing to pay the full salaries of their players – some in excess of £100,000-a-week – whilst relying on tax-payers’ money to fund wages of non-playing staff.
Knight slammed the actions of the clubs involved and described the situation as ‘madness’, believing Premier League clubs should make the same ‘sacrifices’ seen elsewhere across the country at present.
“What sticks in the throat is to see players at home collecting large sums of money while relying on taxpayers to meet 80 per cent [of non-playing staff under the government furlough scheme.] That strikes me as morally wrong and not what the furlough scheme is for,” Knight told the Mail.
“I know a contract is a contract. I’m a free-market conservative. But why are those clubs furloughing staff? Why can’t they pay their non-football staff 100 per cent, by finding money from one part of the business to pay another? What we are witnessing is madness.
“It doesn’t help the image of the game. Many people are coming to arrangements and making sacrifices and yet see the top football clubs doing this.”
According to the Guardian, however, the PFA are only willing to discuss wage deferrals for players and not wage cuts, despite the Premier League and EFL urging the union to accept cuts as football bids to combat the financial implications of the coronavirus crisis.