Chelsea have become the first professional football team in England to commit to the living wage.
The independently agreed figure is £9.15 per hour in London and £7.85 per hour elsewhere in the country and is calculated to cover the basic cost of living. The current minimum wage is some way short at £6.50.
The club will also ensure that the staff of external contractors will be paid the wage for work at Stamford Bridge, Cobham training ground and any other areas that the club operates.
Speaking to Chelsea’s website, club chairman Bruce Buck said: “As a responsible employer we are proud of this significant achievement for the club.
“We believe the move to the living wage underlines our commitment to ensuring that all of our employees receive a fair rate of pay for their hard work and dedication. Quite simply it is the right thing to do.”
Luton Town have also committed to paying the living wage, along with non-league side FC United of Manchester and Scottish club Hearts. The Hatters have promised that the club will absorb the financial hit and will not pass the cost onto fans.
A report at the end of October sparked outrage as it was revealed that no Premier league side paid the living wage; even though top-flight footballers earn an average of £2.3m per year.
It is estimated that a minimum wage worker would take 13 years to earn what Wayne Rooney does in a week; the England striker is believed to pick up around £300,000 a week, or 50p a second.
In the summer, Labour MP Frank Field contacted every Premier League side to ask them to pay all staff the living wage, only six clubs replied and none agreed to the idea. Over 1,000 companies now pay the living wage in the UK.