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Lionel Messi makes key personal statement – Are Premier League players willing to follow?

2 months ago
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Lionel Messi is not just a class act on the pitch.

The best player in the world, possibly ever, is also a class act off it.

Responding to the current crisis the Argentine superstar has revealed that he and his teammates are taking a 70% drop in wages.

The Barcelona captain says that part of the motivation for this is to ensure that all staff at the club, especially those on the lowest wages, are paid in full over the course of this crisis.

This follows on from a number of clubs in Germany taking significant pay cuts whilst football is suspended, whilst Juventus players are taking no pay for four months.

Additionally, the four German clubs who have competed in the Champions League this season, are donating over £18m to the rest of the clubs in German football, which is particularly helpful when TV deals in the Bundesliga are far lower than the Premier League, never mind below the top division in Germany.

The Premier League has the highest collective payroll of any football league in the world and it is surely time there was a collective message put out by the players, the PFA with a key part to play.

How good would it be to see an announcement that all Premier League players had agreed to donate 50% of their wages during this crisis? That money could be ringfenced to ensure it goes to help ensure all staff at clubs continue to be paid during this crisis and also help small clubs with lower paid players to survive this situation.

For starters, the likes of Jack Grealish should be donating his entire pay (and the rest) to good causes. Absolutely shameful that he posted on social media telling fans to make sure they follow the government guidelines on helping to stop the spread of the virus, only to then hours later reported to have gone to an all night party at someone else’s residence with others, before then the next morning getting in his car and crashing it, leaving the scene instead of waiting for the police. He has returned to social media to apologise but clearly this is only because he has been caught out, if he’d managed to drive home safely we would never have heard anything from him, at least not until he went to the next all night party.

Some Premier League players are already involved in personal smaller projects to help during this crisis but now we need them all acting together to send out a powerful message.

Nowhere more so than at Newcastle United, where we have Mike Ashley acting so disgracefully towards fans, not making any commitment to pay casual matchday workers during the crisis as decent clubs are doing, whilst yesterday it was revealed that Ashley has made most staff that aren’t players/coaches, ‘furloughed workers’, set to having to rely on the government to pay 80% of their wages during this crisis.

Lionel Messi:

“Before going any further, we want to make it clear that we were always willing to reduce our salaries because we understand perfectly that we are in an exceptional situation.

“We, as players, are always here to help the the club when they ask.

“It does not cease to surprise us that from within the club there were those who tried to put us under the magnifying glass and tried to add pressure to do something that we always knew we would do.

“If we didn’t speak until now, it’s because the priority was to to find solutions to help the club and to see who the most affected were during this situation.

“For our party, the moment has arrived that, the cut will be 70% of our wage during the state of alarm.

“We will also help out the club in order for the workers to be paid 100% of their wages.”

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