PFA warn Premier League pay-cuts would hit NHS funding after Hancock criticism

Malik Ouzia

The PFA says Premier League footballers will make “significant financial contributions” towards the coronavirus effort, but warned that a blanket 30 per cent wage cut would cost the government £200million in tax contributions.

In a statement released following further talks with the Premier League, the PFA also welcomed the top flight’s £20million pledge to support the NHS but suggested the figure “could be far bigger”.

On Friday, the Premier League announced plans to consult players over a proposed 30 per cent wage deferral, following criticism from Matt Hancock, who called for footballers to “play their part”.

The PFA statement insisted that “all Premier League players fully appreciate their role and responsibilities in society during this current crisis”, but rejected the proposal and hit back at the health secretary's remarks, pointing out that tax payments from its members were are crucial to helping fund the NHS.

The PFA said: “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?”

As well as the £20m NHS donation, the Premier League also agreed to advance £125m worth of payments to EFL and National League clubs to ease cashflow problems brought about by the lack of matchday income during the shutdown. However, the PFA warned that gesture will not be enough.

“The EFL money is an advance,” it said. “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.”

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