Old Trafford stars earning up to £375,000 per week have agreed to forgo 30 per cent of their wages for one month on the proviso that the money is used to benefit hospitals and health centres throughout Manchester in the fight against the coronavirus.
Captain Harry Maguire was approached by chairman Ed Woodward about the idea, and the England defender opened up the initiative to the rest of the senior squad, who are believed to have overwhelmingly agreed. This afternoon it emerged Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is organising crisis fund that is set to raise millions for the the NHS, enlisting the help of the Premier League’s other skippers.
The decision came as a row over footballers’ pay erupted with Gary Lineker today defending those who have not taken a cut during the coronavirus crisis after Health Secretary Matt Hancock urged them to support club staff who are being furloughed at the taxpayers’ expense.
The Match of the Day host, who will donate two months of his £1.75million BBC salary to the British Red Cross, believes that Premier League stars should not be vilified yet, saying: ‘I think a lot of footballers will do something’.
Manchester United today became the first side in the Premier League to cut player salaries with the cash going to the NHS
Gary Lineker (pictured on Sky last night) has warned against a ‘judgemental pile-on’ after Health Secretary Matt Hancock suggested Premier League footballers should take a pay cut. However, Gary Neville responded on Twitter, calling Hancock’s statement ‘a f****** cheek’
MAN UNITED’S TOP 10 BIGGEST EARNERS
David de Gea – £375,000
Paul Pogba – £290,000
Anthony Martial – £250,000
Marcus Rashford – £200,000
Harry Maguire – £189,904
Juan Mata – £160,000
Luke Shaw – £150,000
Fred – £120,000
Victor Lindelof – £120,000
Nemanja Matic – £120,000
Figures are each player’s salary per week, according to the club’s 2019-20 payroll on Spotrac
Many football fans are irate and have accused millionaire star players of ‘living in a bubble’ while club staff who serve them through the season are being put out of work while football is cancelled due to coronavirus.
Tottenham Hotspur, whose owner Joe Lewis is worth £4.5billion and pays most players between £70,000 and £200,000 per week, has furloughed non-playing staff along with Premier League rivals Newcastle, Norwich and Bournemouth.
Shop workers, security staff, cleaners and catering staff will now be paid 80 per cent of their salary up to £2,500 per month by the taxpayer when club stars remain on multi-million pound salaries.
Mr Lineker said: ‘It’s now up to the players how to respond. Let’s give them a chance to respond before this hugely judgemental pile-on that we always get nowadays. My inkling is that footballers will take pay cuts. I think we need to be a little bit patient with them.’
The former England striker spoke out after Gary Neville accused Hancock of having a ‘f***ing cheek’ after the Health Secretary said Premier League footballers should give up some of their pay packets, when the Government can’t organise testing for NHS staff. Mr Lineker later shared the tweet saying: ‘Abso-bl**dy-lutely’.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson set up a coronavirus crisis fund to raise millions for the NHS
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is behind a players’ coronavirus crisis fund for the NHS
The England midfielder has spent much of this week contacting the captains of other Premier League clubs to pitch the idea to his fellow players.
It is understood the scheme was thought up prior to Health Secretary Matt Hancock‘s scathing comments about footballers needing to ‘play their part’.
The impressive initiative, which looks set to raise millions of pounds for the stretched National Health Service in a time of deep crisis, is said to have received a wholly positive response from players across the top flight.
Talks are continuing, and players also want to seek NHS and government guidance on the best way to distribute the money to where it is most needed. Contact has already been made with various banks to set up the fund, and footballers will simply be asked to contribute on the understanding there is a wide variation is salaries across the 20 Premier League clubs.
It is understood that any money donated by the players will be separate to decisions made on wage cuts.
Joey Barton also tweeted a defence of players today and said: ‘Herd Immunity? Boris and his cronies? NHS under funded and mismanaged for decades? That’ll be the Premier League footballers fault. Wake up! This is about shifting the focus away from the government handling this pandemic horrendously’.
Former Premier League player David Cotterill wrote: ‘2.5 million millionaires in the UK! 512 players in the Premier League! YOU all want footballers to donate or take pay cuts during this? I agree. But there’s a lot more rich people out there. Soon as anything happens footballers become instant targets’.
But Tottenham’s Labour MP David Lammy sided with Mr Hancock and said: ‘It’s criminal that Premier League footballers haven’t moved more quickly to take pay cuts and deferrals. And completely wrong that taxpayers are now being asked to subsidise cleaners, caterers and security guards at these clubs instead’.
The Premier League is trying to agree a deal with players’ union, the Professional Footballers’ Association, whose chief executive Gordon Taylor insists top-flight players should would not take pay cuts to ease the financial pressure on clubs caused by the coronavirus crisis.
A three-month deferral of pay for players is being mooted if the season has not resumed by the middle of the summer.
But the PFA is clear they would not accept wage cuts for their members, saying it would ‘only serve shareholders’ interests’.
The Premier League is meeting today to discuss players’ pay and ways to finish the current season safely as it was claimed one top club has suggested moving the games to China or another country where the coronavirus peak has passed.
Neville accused Hancock of having a ‘f***ing cheek’ after the Health Secretary said Premier League footballers should give up some of their pay packets. Former Premier League player David Cotterill says it’s the UK’s millionaires that should be paying more – saying footballers are ‘instant targets’
Former Man City player Joey Barton, now a League One manager, says that the Government is trying to cover up its handling of the crisis by demanding players take pay cuts
Now one Premier League club ‘suggests finishing the season in CHINA’
One Premier League club has reportedly put forward the extreme idea of finishing out the current campaign in China.
Premier League executives from all 20 clubs are preparing for a showdown video conference on Friday afternoon, but there are growing concerns that football authorities will be unable to formulate a plan to salvage the season.
And according to the Athletic, as the top-flight desperately scrambles to finish the season, one club has even suggested exploring the feasibility of completing it over 5,000 miles away.
This idea is reportedly based on examining the spread of coronavirus and looking at regions where it would be considered safe on health grounds to resume football and feasible in terms of infrastructure to stage the Premier League.
And China, who have taken positive steps on the path to recovery since the first global outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan in late December last year, was raised as a potential destination.
The report claims that the outlandish idea was of the view that it would take the pressure and strain off the NHS and free up Premier League facilities so that they can be used by emergency services and local authorities.
Brighton’s chief executive Paul Barber has taken a pay cut along with manager Graham Potter for the next three months – but claimed today that because players are ‘assets on a balance sheet’ rather than employees, it is difficult to change their contracts and force them to cut their pay.
Although no Premier League footballer appears to have taken a pay cut, Wilfried Zaha has offered NHS workers free accommodation to help ease the strain caused by the coronavirus crisis on London’s hospital workers.
Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford has teamed up with FareShare, a food distribution charity, after schools in the Manchester area were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, raising £134,000 for meals.
Liverpool star and Scotland captain Andy Robertson has given his backing to a charity supporting elderly people during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The footballer said he wants people to know Age Scotland, which has experienced a tenfold increase in calls during the coronavirus outbreak, is there for them.
Hancock said yesterday that top-flight footballers needed to ‘make a contribution and take a pay cut,’ with many clubs facing financial difficulties due to matches being suspended, saying the stars must: ‘Take a pay cut, play your part’.
He said that ‘given NHS staff making the ultimate sacrifice getting into work and have caught the diseases and sadly died, I think the first thing Premier League footballers can do is make a contribution’.
However, Sky Sports pundit Neville said his statement was ‘a f***ing cheek, adding: ‘I wish I was a player for 10 more mins. The PL players are more than likely working on a proposal to help clubs, communities and the NHS. It takes longer than 2 weeks to put together.
‘Matt Hancock calling them out when he can’t get tests in place for NHS staff is a [email protected]@@@@g cheek!’
Piers Morgan also piled in last night and said: ‘Will Mr Hancock & his cabinet colleagues also be taking a pay cut – or is the intention here just to shame footballers who haven’t said they won’t?’
‘If clubs can afford to pay their players and staff, they should’: PFA refuses to back down in escalating row over Premier League salaries
PFA chief Gordon Taylor has told his player members not to accept wage cuts from their clubs, saying rich owners should pay staff and suggesting clubs could take advantage of the current turmoil to change copntracts
PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor defied the Government and the Premier League on Thursday night by insisting that top-flight players will not take pay cuts to ease the financial pressure on clubs caused by the coronavirus crisis.
The union’s strongly-worded statement followed lengthy talks with the Premier League, EFL and League Managers Association that broke up without agreement.
The PFA also criticised big clubs such as Tottenham and Newcastle for taking advantage of the Government’s job retention scheme to furlough non-playing staff at the expense of the taxpayer.
The Premier League and EFL had spent the afternoon attempting to persuade the PFA to endorse a universal financial settlement package for players involving deferrals and potentially cuts ahead of Friday’s crucial conference call of the 20 top-flight clubs, who had hoped to rubber-stamp that agreement.
Sportsmail has learnt that the proposal put to the PFA involved players accepting a deferral of a fixed percentage of their salary for three months followed by a cut if football has not resumed by the middle of the summer.
The PFA have not ruled out advising players to accept deferrals, although the percentage has yet to be agreed. The figures mooted by both sides range from 25 to 50 per cent, but the PFA have made it clear they would not accept wage cuts.
Brighton chief Barber told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning: ‘Players have very different contracts to ordinary working people. The players are sort of assets on our balance sheet, so it’s a lot more complex to move to changes in the contract.
‘Talks are going on between the leagues and the unions at the moment and we’re hoping to hear something over the next day or two on that particular topic.’
Questioned over footballers living on smaller wages, Mr Barber added: ‘I think we can totally understand the public’s perception at the moment.
‘The whole country is suffering. Everybody is in a very difficult position. People are losing their jobs, worse still people are losing their lives, so we totally understand the perception.
‘I think individually players are good people, they do lots of good things. Many of our players have already made private donations to support various charities in our particular city.
‘I think most players are waiting on the union to come up with a formula or a strategy to help them work with their clubs through this crisis.’
Lineker has said that players should be given a chance to support non-playing staff before a ‘judgemental pile-on’ begins.
Lineker told BBC Radio 4’s ‘World at One’: ‘The way Tottenham have handled it I don’t think has been very good – what they are doing to their staff I don’t agree with whatsoever.
‘But that is a separate issue to what the players do. It’s the club that has said that the players are going to carry on with their wages, but let’s see how the players react to it.’
In a strongly-worded statement that followed lengthy talks with the Premier League, EFL and League Managers Association that broke up without agreement, the PFA also criticised big clubs such as Tottenham and Newcastle, who have taken advantage of the government’s job retention scheme to furlough non-playing staff at the expense of the tax payer.
The Premier League is meeting today – what will they discuss?
- Joint stance on players’ salary cuts
- Whether the season will resume. If so, when is the plan to resume? And when will it be due to end?
- Are the league prepared to play games behind closed doors?
- If the season in cancelled, how will promotion, relegation, championship winner and European places be decided?
- How to meet obligations to TV companies such as Sky
- When the next transfer window will be
The Premier League and EFL had spent the afternoon attempting to persuade the PFA to endorse a universal financial settlement package for players involving deferrals and potentially cuts ahead of today’s crucial conference call of the 20 top-flight clubs, who had hoped to rubberstamp that agreement.
Sportsmail has learnt that the proposal put to the PFA involved players accepting a deferral of a fixed percentage of their salary for three months followed by a cut if football has not resumed by the middle of the summer.
The PFA have not ruled out advising players to accept deferrals, although the percentage has yet to be agreed with the figures mooted by both sides ranging from between 25 and 50 per cent, but made it clear they would not accept wage cuts.
In an incendiary statement released less than an hour after Hancock had called on players to ‘take a pay cut and play their part’ the PFA dismissed that suggestion out of hand.
Lord Digby Jones, former Director General of the CBI and Minister of State for Trade and Investment, says PL players are in a ‘bubble’ and should pay to support club staff
Tottenham MP David Lammy says it’s ‘criminal’ that footballers aren’t already supporting non-playing staff
Piers Morgan is among those who believe footballers will play their part – and are being unfairly shamed before they have the chance to take a cut
‘Each club’s financial standing will vary,’ the statement read. ‘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.’
Non-league club shames its Premier League neighbour Newcastle United
A non league football club is shaming pampered Premier League stars by donating the little money it has to the Coronavirus cause.
The actions of West Auckland Town AFC are in stark contrast to the behaviour of the football elite, who are refusing to take pay cuts from their multi million pound salaries while poorly paid club staff are furloughed.
The Northern League players, who are paid tiny sums to cover their expenses, are fined throughout the season for misdemeanours such as being late and wearing muddy boots.
The club usually spends the money on a night out or weekend away, but have this year decided to donate the entire kitty, which comes to just over £3,000, to the NHS.
Assistant secretary Dave Bussey said: ‘This is a definite sacrifice for the lads to make.
‘In the past they have spent the money on a trip to Ibiza, and a night out in Newcastle. It is a way to celebrate the season, whether they have lost or won, and it’s something they look forward to.
‘But all the players recognise that fighting Coronavirus is the most important thing at the moment. The most important thing is the NHS’.
Taylor is the highest-paid union official in the country with a salary of £2.2million and has developed a reputation as a hard-nosed negotiator, which he has had no qualms about displaying despite the country facing a national emergency and unprecedented public health crisis. In addition to refusing to bow to the increasing public pressure for pay cuts the PFA also accused clubs who have furloughed staff of damaging society simply to protect the wealth of their shareholders.
‘The players we have spoken to recognise that the non-playing staff are a vital part of their club and they do not want to see club staff furloughed unfairly,’ the statement read. ‘Any use of the government’s support schemes without genuine financial need is detrimental to the wider society. In instances where clubs have the resources to pay all staff, the benefit of players paying non-playing staff salaries will only serve the business of the club’s shareholders.’
The PFA’s statement followed a day of mounting political pressure, which culminated in Hancock using part of the government’s daily press briefing to publicly call players to take a pay cut.
Earlier in the day the chair of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport select committee, Julian Knight, called on the government to impose a windfall tax on clubs who refused to cut wages.
Sunak forces banks to make free loans available to businesses as companies prepare to ‘furlough half their staff’
The Chancellor will today ban banks from imposing their own expensive loans on firms battling to survive the Covid19 crisis.
Rishi Sunak is stepping in after lenders were said to be exploiting businesses by turning down applications for the Government’s cash support scheme.
Some banks have been telling company bosses they can get one of their own loans instead.
But these are typically more expensive than the Government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which is free of interest for the first year.
MailOnline has been contacted by numerous firms which have either been refused help by banks or have been offered money but with interest rates as high as 30 per cent.
Meanwhile, a British Chambers of Commerce survey of 600 firms found 44 per cent of firms are likely to put more than half of their workers on furlough, with the government then paying their wages.
A majority of firms – 62 per cent – only have up to three months’ cash in reserve and almost one in five have less than a month in their rainy day funds as they struggle with plummeting revenues.
‘We are facing an obscene situation where top players who aren’t working are continuing to see hundreds of thousands of pounds roll in each week while the staff who keep the clubs going are losing wages,’ ‘Knight said. ‘If the Premier League isn’t going to act to resolve this crisis then the government must step in by imposing a significant financial penalty on clubs to reimburse those hit hardest in the pocket. That’s why I have written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak today demanding that Premier League clubs do the right thing by Tuesday next week or face the consequences.’
Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust has called on Levy to make a bigger financial contribution to help the club cover non-playing staff’s wages.
It said in a statement: ‘We are aware that no football club can impose contract changes on its playing or coaching staff without agreement with the respective unions, the PFA and LMA (League Managers’ Association).
‘So the comment that THFC has chosen to cut non-playing staff wages while choosing not to cut playing staff wages is inaccurate.
‘But there is nothing to stop the club’s players making a voluntary contribution to ensure that the most vulnerable do not bear too great a burden.
‘And there is nothing to stop the club’s directors, including the chairman, making a further personal contribution on top of their 20 per cent wage cuts. Points we have made directly to the club board and will continue to do so.
‘We have made it clear that this is a course of action fans would overwhelmingly support.’
Players across Spain and Italy have agreed voluntary pay-cuts with the entire Barcelona squad, led by Lionel Messi, agreeing to 70 per cent reductions while the coronavirus crisis continues.
I’ve been furloughed: What does it mean, why are companies doing this and what happens next?
Until a fortnight ago, it’s unlikely many British workers had ever encountered the term ‘furloughed’, but now it is a concept that has been thrust into the spotlight by the coronavirus crisis.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled a series of measures to cover the wages of millions of people suddenly left without work and prevent businesses going bankrupt due to the coronavirus crisis – and furloughing staff lays at the heart of it.
Sunak said the Government will cover 80 per cent of salaries up to a ceiling of £2,500 a month – equivalent to the UK average wage of £30,000 a year.
The scheme, open to all firms with employees, will be up and running by the end of April and backdated to March 1.
But in order to access it, businesses will have to ‘furlough’ their employees who they can no longer afford to pay.
This term, until now more or less unknown in the UK, is suddenly popping up everywhere, with easyJet just one among the many companies announcing a two-month furlough for its cabin crew who can’t work after the company grounded all of its flights.
Here we explain what furlough means and what it entails for workers and businesses.
What does it mean to be ‘furloughed’?
Essentially, if you’re being furloughed by your employer, it means you’re being sent home, but will still receive 80 per cent of your salary by the Government, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.
This Government job retention scheme is only for employed people, it does not apply if you are self-employed.
However, you first need to agree to be put on furlough by your employer, who can then apply for the money to the Government. You cannot apply for it yourself.
Your employer can choose to pay the remaining 20 per cent of your wages, although it is not obliged to do so.
If you earn more than £2,500 a month, your employer can choose to ‘top up’ your salary, but again it is not forced to do so.
You will still continue to pay income tax and national insurance contributions while on furlough.
Can I be furloughed if I’m on a zero-hour contract?
Yes. Also if you’re on a flexible contract or are employed by an agency.
If you are on a zero-hour contract, which means you don’t necessarily earn the same amount each month, your employer should give you the 80 per cent of your average monthly salary since you started working.
That also applies to workers who have been employed for less than a year.
If you’ve worked for your employer for a year or more, you should receive 80 per cent of your average monthly salary, or 80 per cent of what you earned in the same month during the previous year – whichever is highest.
If you started work only in February, your employer will pro-rata your earnings from that month. But if you’ve started working on 28 February or after, you are not eligible.
If you have been made redundant after February 28, or even if you left a job after that date, you could be reemployed under furlough if your employer is willing to do so. Otherwise you will have to claim unemployment.
Can I be forloughed if I’m sick?
If you’re fallen ill and in the meantime your employer has had to shut down, you should first get statutory sick pay first, but can be furloughed after this.
Those who are self-isolating because of coronavirus can also be placed on furlough.
People who are ‘shielding’ and are vulnerable to potential severe illness caused by the coronavirus, can also be placed on furlough.
At the moment, employees can be furloughed from a minimum of three weeks up to three months, although the Government may look to extend that if needed.
Which businesses can apply?
Any company with employees can apply, including charities, recruitment agencies and public authorities.
However, the Government does not expect many public sector organisations to apply, as ‘the majority of public sector employees are continuing to provide essential public services or contribute to the response to the coronavirus outbreak’.
Organisations who are receiving public funding specifically to provide services necessary to respond to the coronavirus outbreak are not expected to furlough staff.
Employers can furlough staff for a minimum of three weeks and are not allowed to rotate employees on furlough.
In order to access the scheme, businesses need to change the status of their employees to furlough workers and submit the information to HMRC.
HMRC are currently working to set up a system for reimbursing companies.
Premier League chiefs are holding their crunch coronavirus meeting TODAY… now is the time to decide on the fate of the season, when – or if – it will resume, transfers, a £762m debt to TV companies – and players’ pay cuts
English football’s moment of truth is upon us.
Top of the agenda will be how to finish a season that has been suspended for nearly a month as the killer pandemic enforces lockdown and social distancing, making playing football seem trivial.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and his players will be desperate for the season to resume
Premier League stakeholders are meeting via video link Friday to decide coronavirus issues
But there are matters that need to be resolved with careers and hundreds of millions of pounds at stake.
On the pitch, titles, relegations and European places need to be confirmed, at the risk of a plethora of lawsuits if they are not.
Liverpool fans will be most anxious of all to find out their fate, with their club on the brink of ending their 30-year wait for a league title and only a cancellation of the season standing between them and the trophy.
At the other end of the table, Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Norwich also face a nervy day, as they occupy the relegation places. The promotion-chasing clubs in the Championship, including the top two – Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion – will be on tenterhooks too.
Off the pitch the issue of whether players should take wage cuts while clubs’ non-playing staff are being furloughed is one that has grabbed national attention.
Changes to the transfer window and players with contracts set to expire this summer are also likely to be on the agenda.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy will be present at the video-conference meeting
Grounds, including Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, have had gates closed since March 9
Sportsmail exclusively revealed earlier this week that the Premier League have been working on a plan to restart the season behind closed doors on the first weekend in May, in order for it be finished by mid-July so that TV contracts are honoured.
Martin Samuel and Matt Hughes reported: ‘Under the terms of the TV contracts the cut-off point to finish this season is July 16, and if the campaign is not completed by that date Sky Sports, BT Sport and the international rights-holders could demand rebates totalling as much as £762million.’
The plan is a bold one and could be unrealistic with lockdown expected to go on for months, with major doubts over how to keep players healthy and many minor issues, such as whether VAR can be implemented, to be ironed out.
We will find out if the Premier League have stuck to that plan today, or are pursuing a different course to get the season finished – as all stakeholders are pitching for.
Premier League clubs and players have come in for a barrage of criticism this week for not yet agreeing pay cuts despite some – Tottenham, Newcastle and Norwich – already announcing plans to use the government furlough scheme for non-playing staff. That means clubs have pushed the burden of paying their staff onto the taxpayer, while still paying huge sums to already vastly rich players.
Former Spurs manager Harry Redknapp led the criticism, saying: ‘I can’t believe it. Surely players should be taking a cut. This isn’t for big clubs like Tottenham.’
The reason clubs have been hesitant in asking players to take wage cuts is that players could technically then leave for free, citing breach of contract – as revealed by Sportsmail earlier this week.
Professional Footballers Association chief Gordon Taylor has been urging players not to accept pay cuts and wants clubs’ accounts revealed before they consider doing so.
Taylor refused to back down on Thursday night despite criticism from the Government and pressure from the Premier League, insisting that top-flight players will not take cuts.
TV companies such as Sky will want to see returns on their huge investments in the league
The Premier League have worked on a co-ordinated approach to salary management, to avoid the aforementioned free-transfer issue, and they need a two-thirds majority from clubs to ratify any decision.
There could, though, be a deferral of wages and the PFA’s statement on Thursday evening suggested that was still on the table. Sportsmail has reported, though, that a decision on that could be pushed back to next week.
It is expected that players whose contracts are set to expire on June 30 will be told to remain with their current clubs until the season ends, whenever that is, and that the summer transfer window will run until the end of January. Both of these decisions, while on the agenda, are likely to be announced by FIFA and not the Premier League.
Football’s PR disaster: Politicians, ex-players and fans pile in on Premier League stars as £2m-a-year PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor urges them to hold firm and NOT agree wage cuts as coronavirus ravages the country
Politicians, former players and football fans have slammed Premier League clubs for failing to reduce the wages of their multi-millionaire players before using the government’s furlough scheme for their non-playing staff.
While the programme sellers and stewards are taking 20 per cent wage cuts and being bailed out by the government, top stars are still earning hundreds of thousands a week, and have been urged by the PFA to hold fire on accepting cuts to their pay.
All this has left a sour taste in the mouths of football fans and even ex-players, who have urged players to do the right thing and end the PR disaster they find themselves embroiled in.
No Premier League players have yet agreed to wage cuts amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis
One fan argues that football is ‘cutting its own throat right now’ with the stance they’ve taken
WHO’S SAYING WHAT?
Piers Morgan, MailOnline columnist: ‘It’s outrageous for any football club right now to cut salaries of club staff but not extravagantly paid players too’
Julian Knight, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee: ‘It sticks in the throat. This exposes the crazy economics in English football and the moral vacuum at its centre’
Harry Redknapp, former manager: ‘The players need to have a meeting among themselves and from their heart, say ‘I think it would be a good idea, let us take a wage cut, not deferred wages, we can afford it”
David Lammy, MP for Tottenham: ‘It’s criminal that Premier League footballers haven’t moved more quickly to take pay cuts and deferrals. And completely wrong that taxpayers are now being asked to subsidise cleaners, caterers and security guards at these clubs instead’
Simon Jordan, former club owner: ‘Come on! There is a moral obligation here – there has to be. Football has GOT to take a pay cut!’
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London: ‘Highly paid football players are people who can carry the greatest burden and they should be the first one to, with respect, sacrifice their salary, rather than the person selling the programme or the person who does catering’
Leading figures from the world of politics have also weighed in on the debate, with Julian Knight, the chair of the Digital, Media and Sport committee, stating: ‘It sticks in the throat.
‘This exposes the crazy economics in English football and the moral vacuum at its centre.’
MP for Tottenham David Lammy took to Twitter on Thursday morning and said: ‘It’s criminal that Premier League footballers haven’t moved more quickly to take pay cuts and deferrals. And completely wrong that taxpayers are now being asked to subsidise cleaners, caterers and security guards at these clubs instead.’
Harry Redknapp, former Tottenham and Portsmouth manager, told the BBC: ‘I’m a bit disappointed they’ve used that scheme to keep workers on. These people are so important to every football club, the club shouldn’t be taking the government’s money to be paying them.
‘The players need to have a meeting among themselves and from their heart, say ‘I think it would be a good idea, let us take a wage cut, not deferred wages, we can afford to take a cut, whether its five, 10 per cent, but do it from the heart.’
‘When the government brought this scheme out I thought it was for businesses who couldn’t afford to keep workers on, I didn’t think it was for the use of top Premier League clubs.’
MailOnline columnist and football fan Piers Morgan summed up the thoughts of the nation when he told Sportsmail: ‘It is outrageous for any football club right now to cut salaries of club staff but not the extravagantly paid players too.’
Gordon Taylor has gone as far as to tell players to hold fire on accepting cuts to their wages
There is no football being played but footballers across the league are still earning big bucks
Jamie Fox thinks players can still turn the current PR disaster-class into something positive
Fans too have made their feelings abundantly clear, taking to Twitter to share their increasing anger on the situation football finds itself in.
One wrote: ‘Massive PR opportunity for the first high-profile Premier League footballer who comes out and asks their club for a pay cut, so the non-playing staff can continue to be paid. Even better if a captain got the entire team to agree to it.’
Elsewhere, meanwhile, some fans believe football may struggle to recover from the position it has put itself in.
‘At this rate when things go back to normal, the stadiums will still be empty as the public give up or boycott their support for players & refuse to keep lining billionaires pockets,’ one said.
WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?
Sportsmail has taken a selection of views from Twitter and the Sportsmail comments section to get the thoughts of the fans…
‘Massive PR opportunity for the first high-profile Premier League footballer who comes out and asks their club for a pay cut, so the non-playing staff can continue to be paid. Even better if a captain got the entire team to agree to it’
‘I’d like to think some players will go against the union chief and their agents and come out to donate a certain percentage of their wages every week to their own staff. Those guys are the ones that’ll be remembered as the good guys, just like Eddie Howe’
‘They are not playing…put the players on furlough too. They will then get the maximum of 2,500 per month. Football has lost its sense of community. They will pay for it in the long run.’
‘Greedy man, greedy players, greedy agents, greedy game. Most of the UK is struggling on reduced income, they need to understand what’s going on!!’
‘Is this actually any surprise, the greed within top flight football was always going to come to a stage where it would eat itself.’
‘Oil teams and now a corrupt gambler. This will finish football. Wake up time.’
‘Hopefully people wake up to the obscene gap between fans and players this crisis has highlighted the true importance of fans to a players earnings’
‘At this rate when things go back to normal, the stadiums will still be empty as the public give up or boycott their support for players & refuse to keep lining billionaires pockets’
‘Football as a whole is going to come out of this so poorly with its reputation in tatters because of the greed on display!’
‘Footballs cutting its own throat right now. If they carry on with this greedy stance attendances will plummet when football finally resumes.’
‘What a disgrace of a sport.. sour taste’
Taylor, who earns over £2million a year at the PFA, says he would block proposed wage cuts
Daniel Levy has seen his pay increase while placing Spurs’ 550 non-playing staff on furlough
Some fans think attendances could be on the decline after football showed its true colours
Another football fan noted: ‘Football is cutting its own throat right now. If they carry on with this greedy stance attendances will plummet when football finally resumes.’
As it stands, no Premier League players have cut their wages amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis, which has already seen 2,352 deaths in the United Kingdom.
Gordon Taylor, the £2million-a-year chief executive of the PFA, has told Sportsmail that the union want to know the precise financial position of a club before agreeing to any deferral, to prevent clubs from capitalising on the pandemic to save money.
The PFA are thought to be keen to protect players playing in the EFL’s lower leagues, making sure their earnings – much lower than those seen in the top flight – are safeguarded.
Players may end up accepting wage deferrals, but the union are keen to see clubs’ finances to ensure their members are not treated unfairly.
Former Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan, never one to hold back with his strong opinions, also spoke on the subject during his talkSPORT show earlier this week.
‘I think it is an awful look for football,’ he began, ‘and I think it’s awful Premier League footballers are being paid £250,000 to £500,000 a week and the government is having to support Premier League clubs.
MailOnline columnist Piers Morgan has joined calls for Premier League players to take cuts
NHS staff are struggling to cope while footballers continue to take home 100% of their wages
‘I’m sat here saying: Come on football, you can’t sit there and have every footballer in the Premier League on an average £70,000 a week and seriously say ‘let’s not cut the players’ wages first before we go to the government to fund our own staff’.
‘Come on! There is a moral obligation here – there has to be. Football has GOT to take a pay cut!’
Elsewhere Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, spoke to BBC Radio 5 Live and insisted that top-flight players need to ‘carry the burden’.
‘My view is always that those who are the least well off should get the most help,’ he said.
‘Highly paid football players are people who can carry the greatest burden and they should be the first one to, with respect, sacrifice their salary, rather than the person selling the programme or the person who does catering or the person who probably doesn’t get anywhere near the salary some of the Premier League footballers get.
‘It should be those with the broadest shoulders who go first because they can carry the greatest burden and have probably got savings, rather than those who were in catering or hospitality who have probably got no savings and live week by week and who probably won’t get the [government] benefits for five weeks.’
There is a view at United as one of the richest and biggest clubs in world football, they want to be leading the way in the fight against coronavirus.
The generous gesture will see millions of pounds injected into the crisis that has taken grip of the nation.
The playing community have been criticised in recent days, particularly after their union, the Professional Footballers Association, publicly declared they would not be accepting pay cuts.
But players, in general, are desperate to do their part – and United players’ huge donation represents that feeling.
It was revealed back in October that United have racked up a staggering spend on player salaries, the highest ever reported by an English side.
Financial documents show the club’s incredible £332million yearly wage bill is an all-time high that has grown by £100m – 43 per cent – in the past three years.
David de Gea is the top earner in the dressing room with the goalkeeper on £375,000-a-week
The figures come by way of Swiss Ramble, a financial blogger on Twitter, with United the first Premier League club to publish their numbers for 2018-19.
The wage bill shot up £36m from £296m to £332m in recent months, largely due to the club’s outlay on improving the first team squad.
In the current squad, goalkeeper David de Gea, who earns £375,000-a-week, and midfielder Paul Pogba, who earns £290,000-a-week, are the biggest earners in the dressing room.
The £332m figure also includes seven months of wages paid to Alexis Sanchez, who earns £400,000 a week at Old Trafford.
Inter Milan, who took Sanchez on loan this summer, agreed to pay close to £4.5m of the Chile international’s £21m annual salary, meaning United are still having to subsidise a significant portion of his wages.