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Richard Masters defends what Mike Ashley has done at Newcastle United

2 years ago

Richard Masters has come to the defence of Mike Ashley and other PL club owners.

The Premier League Chief Executive saying that there is nothing wrong with Mike Ashley and others using/abusing the Government’s furlough scheme.

Newcastle United were predictably the first PL Club to pass responsibility to the taxpayer to financially support most staff at NUFC (who aren’t players or senior coaching team) during this national/international crisis.

The likes of Liverpool and Tottenham having followed them.

The general public have expressed their disgust at Premier League clubs exploiting the furlough scheme, as it was set up to be a safety net to support desperate companies and employees.

Liverpool have quickly done a u-turn after realising how shameful the move was seen by the general public but widespread media reports say that Mike Ashley is unmoved by this and has no intention of stopping the dip into public money to pay the people he should be responsible for.

Acting on behalf of Mike Ashley and other PL club owners, Richard Masters has sent a letter (see below) to Julian Knight, the chair of the Government’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, Knight having accused PL clubs of being in a ‘moral vacuum’ due to acts like grabbing public money by abusing the furlough scheme.

Masters hilariously claims that Mike Ashley and the rest are showing ‘restraint’, which hardly ties up with refusing to take responsibility for the ordinary workers at your clubs.

The reality is that people see it as pure opportunism, most PL clubs have already banked the vast majority of cash for the 2019/20 season. In Newcastle’s case, Steve Bruce even said in January that NUFC had made an offer of £40m+ for a player, so how can Mike Ashley be crying poverty now?

For Premier League clubs the one big issue is that with this season set to be extended to allow it to finish, the final TV payments will be delayed. So simply a case of getting players to agree to part of their wages being  delayed (deferred) as well, until that TV cash is paid over.

Ridiculous for PL clubs to be crying poverty when they know fine well that once this season is over and they move to the 2020/21 one, that will also be guaranteed to give them massive riches once again, even relegated clubs guaranteed huge parachute payments.

Bottom line, no excuse not to pay your ordinary, mostly low paid, staff.

As CEO of the Premier League, why isn’t Richard Masters looking into the disgraceful actions of Mike Ashley in having taken by direct debit full season ticket payments for 2020/21, a season that nobody has a clue when it will start?

Premier League CEO Richard Masters writing to Julian Knight – Chair of the Government’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee:

“We do agree with you that restraint needs to be shown by all and we and our clubs are doing just that.

“Individual clubs will need to make these decisions based on their own forecasts as each club will have its own unique position.

“The furlough scheme announced by Government is meant for the whole economy, including many enterprises which might be regarded as providing entertainment or otherwise dependent on elite talent.

“Not only is our industry facing losses now, but to be realistic, we must also base our plans on full recovery being some distance away.

“Ultimately, the very heavy losses that we face will have to be dealt with or else clubs or other enterprises who depend on football for income will go out of business.”

In response, Julian Knight rubbished the claims from Richard Masters:

“It is time for the Premier League to stop defending the indefensible.

“It is frankly laughable to think that clubs are showing restraint on use of government money to pay non-playing staff and flies in the face of public opinion.

“Liverpool has listened to fans, done the right thing and changed its mind.”


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