The coronavirus crisis is inevitably taking its toll on football’s finances.
If the Premier League bubble is still in tact for now, it is wavering perilously close to bursting as clubs face months without gate receipts and TV money.
Several clubs with billionaire owners are declining to pay their own staff and utilising the Government’s furlough scheme, with UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock imploring players to take pay cuts too.
To their credit, there have been plenty of examples of footballers making great gestures to help both those affected economically and the NHS, not least Harry Maguire organising for Manchester United players to donate 30% of their wages to help hospitals.
However, an ‘enforced’ pay cut might well be met with a different response. The PFA have been getting involved to help defend players’ existing contracts.
And it appears that the idea players could be forced to take a reduction has not gone down well at all.
The Mirror claim to have had access to leaked messages from a WhatsApp group including all 20 Premier League captains.
As a reminder, they are as follows; Jordan Henderson, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Seamus Coleman, Hugo Lloris, Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg, David Silva, Billy Sharp, Jack Grealish, Mark Noble, Conor Coady, Jamaal Lascelles, Luka Milivojevic, Cesar Azpilicueta, Harry Maguire, Simon Francis, Wes Morgan, Troy Deeney, Grant Hanley, Ben Mee, Lewis Dunk
We should stress no names are attached to any specific claims, but one skipper is reported to have called planned pay cuts “disgusting”. Players are more than happy to give up money but want their financial contributions will go towards charities, rather than helping already wealthy club owners.
It’s also stated that some clubs are telling players to renegotiate their contracts and “bullying” them into agreeing reduced deals.
One club – unnamed, but one who has ‘wealthy owners’ – has told every player to take a 10% cut over the entire length of their contract. Another club has told players their wages could be halved for as long as the crisis lasts.
The Premier League want no more than a 30% cut per player and for a maximum of a year. That proposal was apparently agreed on Friday by all 20 clubs.
One chief executive says in the same report that “if [players] don’t accept some sort of compromise then clubs will go bust”.
However, the players themselves are upset at being painted as villains when they want to donate to charity .
There’s clearly no easy answer as the crisis tightens its grip on football.
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- Carlos Tevez tells footballers to take pay cuts to combat coronavirus