The Premier League captains are said to have been “apoplectic” and went “ballistic” over their clubs’ “spectacular failure” in demands for a 30 percent wage cut.
An announcement on April 3 confirmed the 20 top-flight clubs had “unanimously agreed to consult their players regarding a combination of conditional reductions and deferrals amounting to 30 percent” of their wages.
Due to the coronavirus-imposed suspension of football, clubs have taken a significant financial hit with some, including Liverpool, initially planning to utilise the government’s furlough scheme.
One of their biggest outgoings is—across the board—player salaries, and the prospect of a 30 percent wage cut would take considerable pressure off.
But a major point of contention has been where those funds would then go, with serious concerns over the clubs simply ‘saving’ this 30 percent and not using it to cover much-needed costs such as non-playing staff wages.
And according to the Independent, the captains of all 20 clubs—including Jordan Henderson—were “at first stunned, and then apoplectic” at the suggestion.
It is claimed that the captains were not informed of the Premier League‘s plan prior to the announcement—nor were the PFA—and that the proposed wage cut was even “talked down” from an initial 40 percent.
“The players are perfectly willing to give up significant money, as they have made clear, but want it all to go to the NHS or other charitable funds,” the report continues.
Henderson’s initiative led to the foundation of the #PlayersTogether fund, which will see players contribute a portion of their wages directly to NHS Charities Together.
But it appears a difference in views has driven a wedge between the players and their employers, with one source even quoted as saying club would “use any chance to screw them,” with the belief that billionaire owners should be able to cover the costs themselves.
The players are described as “completely hardline” in their stance, with no solution in sight, though there is the suggestion that smaller Premier League clubs could even face administration if one is not found.
However, it is added that the clubs are likely to “go as hardline as the players,” which sets up a standoff that highlights the ridiculous position football has found itself in even prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
The rise in player wages, with many now earning over £100,000 a week, has forced the clubs into this situation, and now it is a case of struggling for a resolution.
It is certainly not promising, with the notion of players going “ballistic” clearly underlining their conviction—and the severity of the issue.