London » The richest football league in the world is anything but generous in times of crisis – and is therefore increasingly criticized.
Despite the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the Premier League professionals have declined a 30 per cent salary cut. However, the behaviour of some clubs, such as that of the Champions League winner Liverpool FC, to send employees on compulsory vacation at government expense has also caused discord.
In contrast to players from the top leagues in Germany, Spain and Italy, the English professionals do not want to accept a drop in salary for the time being. The players union PFA justified the attitude with the fact that with this step the English government lost around £ 200m (227m euros) in tax money over a period of twelve months. “That would be at the expense of our national health service NHS or other government-supported services,” said the PFA.
The Premier League clubs had agreed on Friday to ask the players for a 30 percent waiver. If the season couldn’t be ended, the league might have to return £ 762m (£ 866m) to the TV rights holders. “The players are aware that the combined tax on their salaries makes a significant contribution to the financing of essential public services – which are currently particularly important,” said the PFA. Further details are necessary for such a step. The PFA also complained that the £ 20 million donation to the NHS was not enough.
The PFA stance caused criticism. Oliver Dowden, State Secretary for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, wrote on Twitter that people want to see “no struggles within our national sport” in times of crisis. “Football must do its part to ensure that sport understands the pressure that its low-paying employees, communities and fans are exposed to.”
Some clubs also have to put up with criticism. Liverpool announced on Saturday that it would send numerous employees on compulsory leave. The club around coach Jurgen Klopp uses a government program to save jobs, in which 80 per cent of the wages are borne by the state. The rest of the club contributes so that the employees do not suffer any financial disadvantages. The league rivals Tottenham Hotspur, Norwich City, Newcastle United and AFC Bournemouth had previously followed a similar pattern.
A Liverpool employee who remains anonymous has little understanding of this. «The club describes the employees like family. I don’t feel like a family member. Why does a club that generates more than £ 100 million use a government program for its employees when other companies need it more? »He told the BBC. It was only in February that the Premier League leader announced a £ 42m profit. Accordingly, sales increased by around 92 million euros to 627 million euros.
According to media reports, champions and cup winners Manchester City, on the other hand, announced that they did not want to send their own employees on forced leave at the expense of the state.