Tue, 26 May 2020

The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) says Premier League players are open to contributing financially but added that a 30% pay cut is unwise.

The Premier League met with all clubs, the PFA and League Managers' Association (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".

The PFA addressed those remarks, as the statement continued: "The proposed 30% salary deduction over a 12-month period equates to over Pound 500 million in wage reductions and a loss in tax contributions of over Pound 200 million 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 Pound 125 million to the English Football League (EFL) and National League as well as a Pound 20 million donation to the NHS and other community causes.

The PFA statement added: "Pound 20 million 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."

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