Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, many clubs and players have taken a pay cut, but Premier League clubs will not go down that line
Premier League clubs are not willing to reduce the salary received by their star players. The clubs are afraid that doing this might lead to the players leaving for free. This is in stark contrast to clubs from other leagues. Players playing in leagues outside England have either donated or accepted a reduction in salaries or both. However, Premier League players might leave on breach of contract if they don’t get full payment.
A number of clubs are seeking to impose temporary limits on salaries during the coronavirus shutdown. However, instead of bringing this matter up directly, they are favouring a co-ordinated approach. They believe this will help reduce the risk of players triggering legal claims for unpaid wages. Such claims would enable them to leave on free transfers.
The first club to announce pay cut for non-playing staff were Newcastle United. Tottenham Hotspur followed them. Both the clubs announced that all of the club’s 550 non-playing staff will take a 20 percent pay-cut from this month. The clubs have placed some of the staff on the furlough scheme that enables them to claim 80 percent of salaries up to £30,000 back from the Government. However, they have not dared apply this to the mega salary earning players.
What is the furlough scheme?
The British Government announced a £350 billion business bailout package to help British companies cope with the coronavirus lockdown. Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced it after it came to light that one in every 20 workers have lost their job due to coronavirus. Economists said the new plan would cost an additional £78bn
To furlough means to “lay off or suspend temporarily”, usually without pay. While furloughed employees still technically retain their jobs, the furlough itself means that they cease working for their employers and do not earn a salary. According to this idea, the employees would be able to return to their job one day once the temporary situation is under control.
According to the furlough scheme, from March 1, the companies can put their employees on furlough rather than firing them. Through this scheme, the government will pay up to 80 percent of people’s wages, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.
This means that, although the non-playing staff will not work for the clubs, they can still earn their deserved money from the government. However, this has not been applied to players because of several complexities.
Where do the players stand?
If we take a look at clubs and players outside England, we will find that many of them have taken a salary cut. Cristiano Ronaldo voluntarily took a 12.25% salary cut apart from donating €1 million for coronavirus control. Barcelona players have taken whooping 70% salary cut so that the non-playing staff doesn’t have to. However, cutting players a salary is not so simple in England as it is in Spain or Italy.
In England, players’ issues are overseen by the Professional Footballers’ Association. If any decisions regarding players’ wages are taken without approval from the PFA, the clubs can face legal troubles.
The Premier League will talk with the Football League, the Professional Footballers’ Association and League Managers’ Association on Wednesday. The discussion would be overreaching a collective wage deferral agreement. However, the huge range in the size of businesses may mean that a uniform approach is difficult to implement. Top-flight players are willing to accept deferrals but wait for guidance from the PFA.