The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) has hit back at suggestions from the Premier League and Health Secretary Matt Hancock that players should take a salary cut amid the coronavirus crisis.
A lengthy statement was released by the union, insisting that plans to slash players’ wages by 30% across the board were not thought through and that the loss in taxes would be damaging to the funding of the country’s essential services during the pandemic.
‘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,’ a statement read.
‘Taking a 30% salary deduction will cost the Exchequer substantial sums. This would be detrimental to our NHS and other government-funded services.
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‘The proposed 30% salary deduction over a 12-month period equates to over £500m in wage reductions and a loss in tax contributions of over £200m 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?’
Earlier this week, Matt Hancock called for Premier League clubs to ‘play their part’ by cutting salaries.
‘I think that everybody needs to play their part in this national effort and that means Premier League footballers too,’ he said.
‘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 first thing that Premier League footballers can do is make a contribution, take a pay cut and play their part.’
The PFA also called for the Premier League to donate more than the £20million currently stumped up to aid charitable causes. The statement continued: ‘All Premier League players want to, and will, play their part in making significant financial contributions in these unprecedented times.
‘All Premier League players fully appreciate their role and responsibilities in society during this current crisis. They care deeply for those who are suffering with loss, health and hardship at the moment.
‘Discussions about how players can best financially contribute have been ongoing during the current crisis, and prior to yesterday’s announcement by the Premier League.
‘The Premier League players want to take the lead and ensure their financial contributions will support:
- Our clubs that we play for will obviously need our support, particularly if this crisis goes beyond June.
- Non-playing staff at our Premier League clubs – guaranteeing they receive 100% of their wages.
- EFL and non-league clubs, their staff and players.
- The NHS – whose workers – many of whom are football fans – are doing so much for us all. They are the real heroes.
‘We cannot stress enough that football is in this together. Solidarity and putting aside any self-interest is paramount.
‘To re-cap what the Premier League proposed within the announcement yesterday:
- £20m to charitable causes.
- Advancing £125m to the EFL and National League clubs.
- A 12-month 30% salary cut/deferral in wages for Premier League players.
‘£20m 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.
‘We welcomed the opportunity to discuss this with the Premier League today and we are happy to continue talks.
‘It is our priority to finalise the precise details of our commitment as soon as possible. However, to achieve a collective position for all Premier League players – of which there are many different financial and contractual circumstances from club-to-club – will take a bit more time.
‘The PFA Charity has also agreed to make a substantial contribution to a player-led initiative once the details are finalised.
‘There should be no doubting the players and captains are committed to achieving this as soon as possible. They recognise their role in wider society and what they need to do, as a group, to help and support others.’
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