Premier League clubs have been told by leading politicians that they are living in a “moral vacuum” and that their players should “sacrifice their salary” before other workers.
Premier League clubs Newcastle United, Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur have all chosen to furlough non-playing staff in response to the coronavirus outbreak with the clubs using the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Chair of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport committee, Julian Knight, admitted that the news didn’t sit well with him.
“It sticks in the throat,” Knight told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“This exposes the crazy economics in English football and the moral vacuum at its centre.”
He added: “This isn’t what it’s designed for. It’s not designed to effectively allow them to continue to pay people hundreds of thousands of pounds, while at the same time furloughing staff on hundreds of pounds.
“I don’t know whether or not the Treasury can legally turn down these applications.
“But at the same time I think football needs to have a good, long, hard look at itself and see whether or not morally this is really right and whether or not actually what they need to do is come to an arrangement with some of their stars so they can continue to pay their [non-playing] staff 100% of their wages rather than furloughing them on 80%.”
And Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, believes that footballers should be doing more to help by giving up “their salary” to help others at the club.
“My view is always that those who are the least well-off should get the most help,” Khan said.
“Highly paid football players are people who can carry the greatest burden and they should be the first ones to, with respect, sacrifice their salary, rather than the person selling the programme or the person who does catering or the person who probably doesn’t get anywhere near the salary some of the Premier League footballers get.
“It should be those with the broadest shoulders who go first because they can carry the greatest burden and have probably got savings, rather than those who work in catering or hospitality who have probably got no savings and live week by week and who probably won’t get the [government] benefits for five weeks.”
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