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Football players need to accept pay cuts to help clubs survive – Club owner with stark warning

8 months ago
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Football players are now being asked to do their bit to help during this Coronavirus.

Premier League clubs are wrestling with major issues, particularly how to get this season successfully completed and avoid massive compensation claims and league challenges. A report late on Thursday night revealing that if the full 2019/20 season isn’t completed, broadcasters alone will demand £38.1m compensation per club from Newcastle United and each of the other 19, citing breach of contract.

However, for clubs lower down the food chain, the challenges are far more severe.

The 71 EFL clubs (Championship, League One, League Two) got some short-term relief on Thursday, when a £50m package was unveiled to help them, partly cash the clubs were due anyway but paid ahead of schedule.

With no imminent end to the current situation caused by the Coronavirus though, a lot more will need to be done if a host of clubs aren’t going to go to the wall.

Earlier this week, Steve McClaren spoke impressively about the situation, saying it was the duty of everybody, including the Premier League and UEFA amongst others, to help ensure no clubs went under. The former England and Newcastle boss saying there is more than enough money in the game in general to ensure disaster is averted for some, if everybody pulls together.

Now a former FA Chief Executive has said football players also have to step up to the plate and do their bit, because if they don’t, ‘they will not have an industry to play in’ after the worst of the current crisis is over.

Mark Palios is no longer with the FA and instead is now at the sharp end of things at Tranmere Rovers.

Palios is now co-owner and executive chairman of the League One club and has said that all kinds of measures are needed, including football players taking pay cuts.

The Tranmere co-owner says he is asking their players to take a 10% pay cut until some kind of ‘normality returns’ for football, he believes the 71 EFL clubs will also need at least another £50m package of help as well, to get through to the return of that normality, whenever that might be.

Looking for positives in a very difficult situation, Palios hopes that this could and should at least help to bring in a new reality when it comes to the wages of football players, the proportion of club revenues that goes on wages at most clubs is unrealistic and that was the case before the extra financial concerns brought about by this Coronavirus crisis.

Mark Palios speaking to The Athletic:

“As an ex-player and (Professional Footballers’ Association) rep, I don’t say this as just an owner, but (the players) do need to get real as to what is happening.

“I would again make the point that any ‘bale out’ funding package should contain some conditionality focusing on the area of wage control.

“The first priority for the league was to sort out the short-term cash-flow issue right now and they have.

“But now we have the harder challenge of trying to get to a position of certainty at a time when nobody can be certain about anything. How long will this season go on? Not knowing that will have an impact on budgets and plans for next season, and that is why I think we will need another support package for the medium-term issues clubs will face.

“But I’ll be honest, I love crises. I think this is the best opportunity we’ve had to sort out football’s labour market.

“Are we really going to start next season, whenever that is, and pretend it’s business as usual? So I would like to see a salary cap. I completely understand the PFA wanting to fight for its members but they have to have an industry to play in.

“Football needs a salary cap, the simpler the better. It will be supported by the public and it will reflect the financial reality.”

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