There’s been plenty of talk about Premier League footballers taking a wage cut in recent days, however, talks on Saturday ended without any kind of agreement in sight.
A number of Premier League clubs have been criticised this week after they announced that they were placing a number of their non-playing staff on furlough, utilising the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme to pay staff wages, despite clubs, for the most part, being owned by multi-billionaires.
The Premier League are believed to warned that clubs could lose in excess of £1 billion over the coronavirus suspension, with talks being held on Saturday over a proposed 30 per cent pay cut for the next 12 months.
Earlier this week, health secretary Matt Hancock said top-flight footballers should ‘play their part’ and ‘take a pay cut’, though the players union, the PFA, hit back on Saturday, releasing a statement saying that such a pay cut would actually hit the government in the pocket to the tune of £200 million.
“The players are mindful that as PAYE employees, the combined tax on their salaries is a significant contribution to funding essential public services — which are especially critical at this time,” the statement reads. “Taking a thirty per cent salary deduction will cost the Exchequer substantial sums. This would be detrimental to our NHS and government-funded services.
“The proposed 30% salary deduction over a 12-month period equates to over £500m in wage reductions and a loss in tax contributions of over £200m to our government. What effect does this loss of earning to the government mean to the NHS? Was this considered in the Premier League proposal and did the Health Secretary Matt Hancock factor this in when asking players to take a salary cut?”
According to The Athletic, the talks between the PFA, the clubs, and the league on Saturday proved to be ‘utterly inconclusive’, with players keen to ‘understand where the money they sacrifice will go’.
The players are said to want to ensure that their sacrificed salaries will go towards paying other staff at the club as well as going towards helping the emergency services, though The Athletic report that more than 10 Premier League sides are likely to ‘resort to the furlough scheme in the coming weeks’.
Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson has tried to organise a ‘crisis fund’ in which players could instead donate 30 percent of their wages to help emergency services, though such talks are now also ‘on hold’ amid the PFA’s talks with clubs, while they are also said to be complicated by a number of players having already made their own personal contributions.
All in all, it’s a right old mess.