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Wage-cut demands for players

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Mark Pallios

Mark Pallios

PA

Mark Pallios

English football faces another defining day as the professional game prepares to consider an indefinite suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic, while pressure builds for players to accept wage cuts or deferrals.

Premier League clubs will gather via conference call, where it is expected they will be briefed on discussions between the league, the English Football League and the players' union, the Professional Footballers' Association, concerning player wage cuts or deferrals to mitigate the financial impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Consideration will be given to an indefinite suspension of the professional game in England rather than a fixed date, with the landscape having shifted significantly since March 19 when the decision was taken to suspend until April 30.

Clubs from the Premier League to League Two have already placed non-playing staff on furlough leave under the British government's coronavirus job retention scheme, which pays 80 per cent of an employee's monthly salary up to a maximum of £2,500.

Pressure

Pressure is mounting on the PFA from the Premier League and the EFL to agree to measures under which players make some form of sacrifice, with Tranmere chairman and former Football Association chief executive Mark Palios saying a collective agreement was "absolutely essential".

The sport is also facing external pressure, with the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee Julian Knight having written to Premier League chief executive Richard Masters calling for action on player wages.

Knight says that clubs which furlough non-playing staff but do not impose cuts on player wages should be subjected to a windfall tax if they do not change approach by next Tuesday, April 7.

"The purpose of the coronavirus job retention scheme is not to support the economics of Premier League clubs," Knight wrote.

"Your organisation should be role modelling a responsible approach rather than tolerating divisive practices."