Premier League players should take pay cut – British health minister

VIDEO SHOWS: BRITISH HEALTH MINISTER, MATT HANCOCK RESPONDING TO QUESTION ABOUT WHETHER PREMIER LEAGUE SOCCER PLAYERS SHOULD TAKE A PAY CUT

SHOWS: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (APRIL 2, 2020) (UK POOL – ACCESS ALL)

1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH HEALTH MINISTER, MATT HANCOCK, SAYING:

«I think that everybody needs to play their part in this national effort and that means Premier League footballers too. Given the sacrifices that many people are making including some of my colleagues in the NHS who have made the ultimate sacrifice of going into work and have caught the disease and have sadly died I think the last thing… the first thing that Premier League footballers can do is make a contribution, take a pay cut and play their part.»

STORY: Premier League soccer players need to take a pay cut and «play their part» as Britain battles the coronavirus pandemic, health minister Matt Hancock said on Thursday (April 2).

Players’ wages, with the game’s biggest stars paid far more per week than the average Briton earns in years, have become a hot topic after some clubs furloughed non-playing employees under a government job retention scheme.

One parliamentary committee head earlier called for a windfall tax on clubs who failed to tackle the «obscene situation».

«I think everybody needs to play their part in this national effort and that means Premier League footballers too,» Hancock said, highlighting the sacrifices made by National Health service workers who had caught the disease and died.

«The first thing that Premier League footballers can do is make a contribution, take a pay cut.»

Julian Knight, a member for the ruling Conservative party who chairs the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) Committee, wrote to finance minister Rishi Sunak urging action.

Knight set a Tuesday (April 7) deadline for clubs to «do the right thing…or face the consequences».

Professional football in England has been suspended until April 30, at the earliest, due to the pandemic with some top- flight clubs putting non-playing staff on leave.

Sky News reported that senior figures wanted the Premier League’s 20 clubs to agree to a blanket wage cut of up to 25% at a meeting to be held by video conference on Friday (April 3).

That, however, was only one of a range of options for wages which were due to be discussed, Sky added.

The PFA players’ union said in a statement it hoped to reach an agreement with the Premier League and was aware of the public sentiment.

The PFA said players did not want to see club staff treated unfairly and recognised «any use of the government’s support schemes without genuine financial need is detrimental to the wider society».

It added, however, that «in instances where clubs have the resources to pay all staff, the benefit of players paying non-playing staff salaries will only serve the business of the club’s shareholders».

The managers of Bournemouth and Brighton & Hove Albion have also taken voluntary three-month pay cuts.

Others, such as last season’s losing Champions League finalists Tottenham Hotspur who imposed a 20% pay cut on 550 non-playing staff, have said they hoped players would end up «doing their bit».

Players at a number of top continental clubs, including Italian and Spanish heavyweights Juventus and Barcelona, have agreed temporary pay cuts.

($1 = 0.8088 pounds)