As coronavirus continues to affect the UK’s economy, the spotlight has been shone onto football in recent days, and Wayne Rooney isn’t happy about it.
With much of the country having to take pay cuts or being put onto the government’s furlough system, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has suggested that the footballing world isn’t immune to such changes and that footballers can bear the brunt more than most.
And some clubs have been making the headlines for all the wrong reasons, as to the disbelief of many, they have furloughed non-playing staff before enforcing cuts on their far wealthier playing staff.
In response to the growing pressure, the Premier League has proposed a 30 per cent cut for its players, which has been met with fury by some footballers.
Instead, many players have stated that they’d prefer to use their huge wages to make donations to the NHS instead of taking a cut to help out wealthy club owners.
Rooney, who has already suggested that players were used as ‘guinea pigs’ as they were told to keep on playing at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, has now slammed Hancock for his comments.
“I’m not every player. I’m 34, I’ve had a long career and I’ve earned well.
“I’m in a place where I could give something up. Not every footballer is in the same position.
“Yet suddenly the whole profession has been put on the spot with a demand for 30 per cent pay cuts across the board. Why are footballers suddenly the scapegoats?
“How the past few days have played out is a disgrace. First the health secretary, Matt Hancock, in his daily update on coronavirus, said that Premier League players should take a pay cut.
“He was supposed to be giving the nation the latest on the biggest crisis we’ve faced in our lifetimes.
“Why was the pay of footballers even in his head? Was he desperate to divert attention from his government’s handling of this pandemic?”
Rooney has instead suggested that cuts should be more personal based on player’s capabilities.
“I get that players are well paid and could give up money. But this should be getting done on a case-by-case basis. Clubs should be sitting down with each player and explaining what savings it needs to survive. Players would accept that.
“One player might say, ‘I can afford a 30 per cent cut’; another might say, ‘I can only afford 5 per cent.’ Personally, I’d have no problem with some of us paying more. I don’t think that would cause any dressing room problems.”
“We have one player who lives with his mum on a council estate — not that that matters — who I imagine has responsibility for paying the bills for his whole family.
“He’s a footballer but he’s facing the same circumstances as lots of people in our country today.
“He’s a youngster and hasn’t had time to build up any security to fall back on. A cut might be fine for me but what about him?”
Despite the initial backlash that footballers have had for opposing pay cuts, Rooney makes a good point that everything needs to be proportional for each club and player.
And if they can give the NHS significant amounts of money for equipment from their own wages instead of taking that cut, it could be a more beneficial option.
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