Footballers highlight problem with UK government’s wage cut request

The Professional Footballers’ Association says Premier League players want to make “significant financial contributions” but warned a 30 per cent pay cut would have far-reaching implications.

The Premier League met with all clubs, the PFA and LMA in a conference call on Saturday afternoon to discuss its suggestion of wage deductions or deferrals as they look at the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis.

Top-flight professionals have been coming under increasing pressure to take a drop in pay, especially with clubs from the Premier League to League Two placing non-playing staff on furlough leave under the Government’s coronavirus job retention scheme.

A PFA statement on behalf of the Premier League players said: “All Premier League players want to, and will, play their part in making significant financial contributions in these unprecedented times.

“Going forward, we are working together to find a solution which will be continually reviewed in order to assess the circumstance of the COVID-19 crisis.

“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.

“Taking a 30 per cent salary deduction will cost the Exchequer substantial sums. This would be detrimental to our NHS and other government-funded services.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock weighed in on the topic during the government’s daily briefing on Thursday when he said Premier League players should “take a pay cut and play their part”.

Matt Hancock called on Premier League footballers to take a pay cut (Pippa Fowles/Crown Copyright/10 Downing Street)

The PFA addressed those remarks, as the statement continued: “The proposed 30 per cent salary deduction over a 12-month period equates to over £500m in wage reductions and a loss in tax contributions of over £200m to the government.

“What effect does this loss of earning to the government mean for 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?”

The PFA says it is happy to continue talks with the Premier League, which on Friday pledged an advance of £125million to the EFL and National League as well as a £20m donation to the NHS and other community causes.

The PFA statement added: “£20m is welcome, but we believe it could be far bigger.

“The EFL money is an advance. Importantly, it will aid cashflow in the immediate, but football needs to find a way to increase funding to the EFL and non-league clubs in the long-term.

“Many clubs require an increase in funding just to survive. We believe in our football pyramid and again stress the need for solidarity between all clubs.

“Going forward, we are working together to find a solution which will be continually reviewed in order to assess the circumstance of the COVID-19 crisis.”