Danny Rose says no problem with Premier League players giving up wages

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April 4, 2020
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    Danny Rose and Jordan Henderson

    Danny Rose (left) says he has spoken to England team-mate Jordan Henderson about donations

    Premier League players’ “backs are against the wall” over discussions about wage cuts, says Danny Rose.

    Top-flight clubs have agreed to propose a 30% cut to ease the financial burden of the coronavirus crisis.

    There had been criticism for the slow response from football, while some clubs – including Newcastle – have placed staff on temporary leave.

    “We’re all keen to make something happen,” Rose, who is on loan at Newcastle, told BBC Radio 5 Live.

    “I can only speak for myself but I would have no problems whatsoever contributing any of my wages to people who are fighting this on the front line and to people who have been affected by what’s happening at the minute.”

    The Premier League has agreed to use the wage cuts to advance £125m to the EFL and National League, and give £20m towards the NHS.

    Earlier, captains of clubs – led by Jordan Henderson – had held talks about possible donations to charity during the pandemic.

    “We sort of feel that our backs are against the wall. Conversations were being had before people outside of football were commenting,” Rose, who has been loaned to Newcastle by Tottenham, added to the Friday Football Social.

    “I’ve been on the phone to Jordan Henderson and he’s working so hard to come up with something.

    “It was just not needed for people who are not involved in football to tell footballers what they should do with their money. I found that so bizarre.”

    On Thursday, health secretary Matt Hancock said footballers should “take a pay cut and play their part”, as some clubs placed non-playing staff on the government’s furlough scheme.

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    Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee Julian Knight has written to Premier League chief executive Richard Masters calling for action on player wages, saying 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 Tuesday.

    The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) has previously written to its members urging them not to agree any reduction or deferral in wages until they have spoken to the union.

    The league, clubs and players representatives will be joined by the PFA at a meeting on Saturday to discuss the next steps.

    ‘We get judged every day of our lives’

    Wolves captain Conor Coady said players had been looking to do something “for a while now”.

    “It’s fantastic to see people trying to make that effort. It’s something everyone wants to be a part of. As footballers, it’s important we help as many people as possible.

    “What’s come out now is the 30% cut. We get judged every single day of our lives. The time now is to go forward and make a donation.”

    Former Tottenham and England midfielder Jermaine Jenas said the criticism levelled at Premier League players “was an absolute joke”.

    “Their hearts are in the right place – they wanted to have control over where money goes,” he said.

    “Essentially, if the players take a wage cut, the beneficiaries are the clubs. Their main concern is what is happening to this money. They are happy to put money into a pot, rather than it just vanishing.

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    “They want to have an influence as to where this money is going. Is it going to the NHS, school meals? They want control over that. They don’t want to be dictated to by the Premier League – they don’t want to have no idea where the money’s gone.”

    Tottenham, Bournemouth and Norwich have also opted to utilise the government’s job retention scheme.

    Players, coaches and executive staff at Norwich have donated a percentage of their salaries to help local people affected by the pandemic, while players at Championship clubs Leeds and Birmingham have agreed deferrals and cuts to wages.

    In Europe, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid players have taken a 70% pay cut, while Juventus players and manager Maurizio Sarri have agreed to freeze their pay for four months.

    Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe became the first Premier League boss to take a voluntary pay cut during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday.

    Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder says footballers past and present “have got a huge conscience about doing the right thing”.

    “I am sure we will do the right thing through the PFA for the players, the LMA who look after the managers, the Premier League, EFL and FA, they will always do the right thing,” he told Football Focus.

    Pressure, pay and PR – analysis

    Dan Roan, BBC sports editor

    There will be a huge amount at stake at 15:00 BST on Saturday when Premier League clubs, players and PFA representatives dial in to an unprecedented video conference call to thrash out the drop in wages that the clubs have now proposed.

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    The players have found themselves under mounting pressure to accept the deal in the past few days, but behind the scenes there are still tensions.

    The PFA, players at some clubs and their agents feel they have not been sufficiently consulted, and struggle to understand why squads should take a financial hit, rather than the much wealthier billionaire owners of the clubs.

    There are also differences between the leagues, where players’ pay varies wildly of course, and even within leagues. For instance, some top clubs privately do not see the need to cut their players’ pay at all.

    The PFA’s clear preference is for a wage deferral rather than any actual cuts.

    It insists that players are fully aware of the scale of the crisis and want to help, hence the charitable fund that Jordan Henderson is trying to establish with his fellow club captains.

    The clubs are understood to be proposing that players take a 10% cut to cover the loss of matchday revenue they will suffer if the season resumes behind closed doors.

    The other 20% would be deferred to cover the potential cost of broadcasters demanding massive refunds, should the season not resume at all.

    The fact that the clubs have felt the need to put together such a contingency plan is stark evidence of the precarious position they feel they are now in. The big question now is whether the players accept their employers’ argument.


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    April 4, 2020
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