By Andrew Warshaw
April 1 – Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy has issued a stark warning about the global impact of Covid-19, saying “people need to wake up to the enormity” of the pandemic as the English Premier League club announced 550 non-playing staff will take a 20% pay cut.
On the same day that the club published accounts covering 2018/19 which showed Levy had been paid £7 million in salary, he and other non-playing directors and employees at the club will take a cut in salary, initially for April and May.
Despite their relative wealth, Spurs are the second Premier League club after less-affluent Newcastle to take advantage of the British government’s furlough job protection scheme, which allows staff to claim 80% of their wages, to a maximum of £2,500 per month.
Attempting to put football into perspective, Levy said in a passionate statement: “Every person on this planet will be affected and in my lifetime I cannot think of something so impactful.”
“With over 786,000 infected, nearly 38,000 deaths and large segments of the world in lockdown we need to realise that football cannot operate in a bubble.
“The crushing devastation on industries in many countries, the interdependence of international trade and travel in every aspect of our daily life is only now beginning to be felt. When I read or hear stories about player transfers this summer like nothing has happened, people need to wake up to the enormity of what is happening around us.”
Clubs across Europe have taken steps to reduce their costs and explaining why Spurs, who only moved into their £1 billion state-of-the-art new stadium a year ago, have taken their own action, Levy said it was important everyone in football did their bit for the greater good of the game.
“We may be the eighth largest club in the world by revenue, according to the Deloitte survey, but all that historical data is totally irrelevant as this virus has no boundaries.”
“The club’s operations have effectively ceased, some of our fans will have lost their jobs and most will be worried about their future.”
“Our sponsors will be concerned about their businesses and our media partners have no certainty when we may play games again or whether we will be allowed to play in front of our fans. In the meantime, the club has an annual cost base running into hundreds of millions of pounds.”
Reaction to Levy’s remarks was mixed with none of the Spurs players appearing to be taking a similar cut – unlike their counterparts in other major leagues including Spain and Germany.
But his statement suggested the potential for something similar in English football.
“We hope the current discussions between the Premier League, PFA (professional footballers association) and LMA (League Managers Association) will result in players and coaches doing their bit for the football ecosystem,” Levy said.
“We have seen some of the biggest clubs in the world such as Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus take steps to reduce their costs.
“I have no doubt we will get through this crisis but life will take some time to get back to normal.”
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