PFA letter warns players over agreeing to wage cuts during coronavirus pandemic

The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) has written to players to warn that it is “vitally important” they speak to their union before accepting wage cuts.

The coronavirus pandemic has suspended the football season indefinitely, leading to a number of sides reducing the pay of non-playing staff to compensate for lost revenue.

  • PL, EFL: Season return only when ‘safe and appropriate’
  • CL, Europa suspended indefinitely; June internationals postponed

Some Premier League sides, including Tottenham and Newcastle, have placed non-playing staff on furlough, meaning the government will pay 80 per cent of their wages – up to £2,500 per month – while they are not working.

However, no collective agreement has yet been found on reducing players’ pay. The PFA held talks with the Premier League, English Football League (EFL) and League Managers’ Association (LMA) on Friday.

More talks are planned but the issue is made more complex by the wide contrast between players’ pay at the top and bottom level of the professional game.

Following Friday’s meeting, the PFA has now written to players to update them. The letter, which has been seen by Sky Sports News, read: “As part of the stakeholders’ meeting last Friday, the PFA requested to see each club’s financial situation before we offer advice to players on whether to accept the terms offered.

“This will help us to find the best solution for you, as well as the long-term future of your club.

“Before accepting or signing any paperwork from your club, it is vitally important that squads collectively discuss proposals with the PFA.

“We have already been working with multiple teams from all divisions and have created a standardised template that can be used when agreeing to temporary financial measures. This ensures that you are legally protected.”

Despite no collective agreement being reached on wage cuts, some players have already seen their pay reduced.

Leeds players have volunteered to defer their wages, while Birmingham asked their squad to accept 50 per cent deferrals on their pay. Portsmouth have placed their players and staff on furlough.

Managers including Eddie Howe and Steve Cooper have voluntarily reduced their pay, while clubs including Norwich and QPR have also furloughed non-playing staff.

‘92% feel PL players should take pay cut’

A YouGov poll has found 92 per cent of respondents feel Premier League players should accept a pay cut during the coronavirus pandemic.

The poll also revealed that two-thirds of those who backed a pay cut believe the reduction should be of at least 50 per cent.

The lack of a collective agreement on wage deferrals for players has also been strongly criticised by Julian Knight MP, who chairs the Digital, Media and Sport committee.

He said: “It sticks in the throat. This exposes the crazy economics in English football and the moral vacuum at its centre.”

Redknapp: Players should make gesture

Former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has urged players to make a gesture “from the heart” to make sure that non-playing members of staff can keep picking up 100 per cent of their salary.

“For me, it would be a great opportunity for the captains of the football club to get the players together and say ‘look lads, we need to do something’ and give from the heart’,” Redknapp told Sky Sports News.

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