The Professional Footballers’ Association has criticised the Premier League over its proposals in the face of the coronavirus crisis, questioning the benefits of a league-wide 30 per cent pay cut in a strongly worded statement.
The PFA called on the Premier League to donate more than its proposed £20m to charity, to go further in supporting the English Football League and National Leagues, and to reassess how reductions in player salaries would impact government revenues.
The health secretary Matt Hancock this week called for Premier League players to take a pay cut in order to “play their part”, and on Friday the clubs proposed a 30 per cent cut for players across the top flight via a combination of reductions and deferrals. But the players’ union pointed out that a salary cut would substantially reduce their tax contributions at a time when the NHS is in need.
A PFA statement on behalf of Premier League players read: “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?
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“We welcomed the opportunity to discuss this with the Premier League today and we are happy to continue talks.”
Part of the Premier League’s plan is to advance £150m to the lower leagues, but the players’ statement said this was only a short-term solution to the long-term problem of inequality within the game.
The statement read: “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.”
The Premier League has been suspended indefinitely, but clubs have vowed to complete the 2019/20 season when it is safe to do so.