April 6 – English Premier League stars, via their union, have failed to reach agreement with their employers to take 30% pay cuts during the coronavirus pandemic, despite being urged to do so by government officials in order to offset the financial impact of the crisis.
The in-fighting between the Professional Footballers Association and the clubs was featured across the British media over the weekend after the PFA claimed the government coffers would lose out on more than £200 million in tax.
Clubs and players’ representatives discussed a combination of pay cuts and deferrals amounting to 30% of annual salary. However, no immediate agreement was reached.
During Saturday’s conference call, the Premier League, which is not mandated to enforce wage cuts since they have to be agreed by the players and coaches, warned that it faces a £762 million financial penalty if the season does not resume should broadcasters demand refunds on games they can no longer show.
In Spain, Italy and Germany players have agreed to pay cuts of 70%. Stars of Italian champions Juventus will even be paid a reduced amount for the next four months.
But the PFA insisted it was too simplistic to criticise English-based multi-millionaire players for not easily agreeing to cuts. Reducing pay by 30% over a year equated to £500 million, it cautioned.
“The players are mindful that … the combined tax on their salaries is a significant contribution to funding essential public services – which are especially critical at this time,” the PFA said in a statement. “Taking a 30% salary deduction will cost the Exchequer (treasury) substantial sums.”
“What effect does this loss of earning to the government mean for the NHS (national health service)? 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?”
“All Premier League players want to, and will, play their part in making significant financial contributions in these unprecedented times
“(But) the proposed 30% salary deduction over a 12-month period equates to over £500 million in wage reductions and a loss in tax contributions of over £200 million to the government.”
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