"We are aware of the public sentiment that the players should pay non-playing staff's salaries. However, our current position is that - as businesses - if clubs can afford to pay their players and staff, they should"
Monday 20 April 2020 12:45, UK
The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) has moved to clarify reports suggesting it would block all wage deferral requests made by clubs during the coronavirus pandemic.
A number of sides are reducing the pay of non-playing staff to compensate for lost revenue during football's shutdown and pressure is growing on players, in particular the Premier League's top earners, to take a salary cut.
On Thursday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock gave a message to Premier League players, urging them to take a pay cut and play their part.
In a statement, the PFA said: "Contrary to some press reports the PFA has never stated that it will block all wage deferrals. What we have sought to put in place is a structured and unified approach to ensure a fair response across the leagues.
"The players we have spoken to recognise that the non-playing staff are a vital part of their club and they do not want to see club staff furloughed unfairly. Any use of the government's support schemes without genuine financial need is detrimental to the wider society.
"We fully accept that players will have to be flexible and share the financial burden of the COVID-19 outbreak in order to secure the long-term future of their own club and indeed the wider game. Our advice going out to players at this point reflects that expectation."
This week Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have said their players will take a 70 per cent pay cut to help the clubs pay their staff.
Four Premier League clubs (Tottenham, Newcastle, Bournemouth and Norwich) have played non-playing staff on furlough leave - a government support scheme which pays employees 80 per cent of their wages while they are not working.
In the Championship, Leeds United's players, coaching staff and senior management team have volunteered to take a wage deferral to allow all 272 full-time non-football employees as well as the majority of casual staff to continue to be paid at Elland Road and the club's Thorp Arch training ground.
The issue of player's wages has been high on the agenda at a meeting between the PFA, Premier League, English Football League and the League Managers Association this week.
The PFA's statement on Thursday continued: "Each club's financial standing will vary. We are aware of the public sentiment that the players should pay non-playing staff's salaries. However, our current position is that - as businesses - if clubs can afford to pay their players and staff, they should.
"In instances where clubs have the resources to pay all staff, the benefit of players paying non-playing staff salaries will only serve the business of the club's shareholders.
"We understand the severity of the situation and the challenges that clubs from all divisions face. We have requested, via the leagues, that clubs provide us with information about their financial position, so that we can make informed decisions for the future - both immediate and long-term.
"While we have a remit to protect our members, throughout our history, we have also done our utmost to protect the wider game.
"There are a large number of clubs within English football who would simply no longer exist without the PFA's support. We have often been the organisation to pick up the pieces when clubs hit financial difficulty."