Premier League players have responded and released a statement after calls for them to take a proposed pay cut to their salaries during the coronavirus pandemic grow.
The Professional Players’ Association (PFA) released a lengthy statement on behalf of the Premier League players as they revealed that all players ‘want to, and will, play their part in making significant financial contributions in these unprecedented times.’
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and other captains across the Premier League have joined together to try and come to an agreement on a relief fund for all 20 clubs to help against the spread of COVID-19.
The PFA added that the players want their financial contributions to 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.
The Premier League released a statement on Friday saying that the season would only return when it is safe to do so and clubs would be donating $24.5 million to the NHS and over $153 million to teams in the English Football League, as teams in the lower tiers of English soccer struggle with the suspension of games.
Both Premier League clubs and players have been criticized by the UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock who called for them to do their part and take a wage cut, but the main argument from the Premier League players is that if they take a pay cut their contributions to the government via PAYE tax contributions on their wages would in turn hit the NHS and other UK public services.
“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. 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. Taking a 30% salary deduction will cost the Exchequer substantial sums. This would be detrimental to our NHS and other government-funded services.
“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? We welcomed the opportunity to discuss this with the Premier League today and we are happy to continue talks.”
A number of clubs have been criticized for taking the UK government up on their scheme to pay 80 percent of wages to non-playing staff, as many believe the furloughing scheme should not be used in this way as billionaire owners of clubs should instead pay staff in full.