Premier League chief warns of £1bn loss if season not completed

Masters: "We face a £1bn loss, at least, if we fail to complete season 2019/20, and further losses going forward if the seriousness of the pandemic deepens and extends into the future."

Changing of the guard?

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has warned the league faces losing at least £1bn if the season is not completed.

In a letter in reply to MP and DCMS chair Julian Knight - who had called for a windfall tax on clubs that cut the pay of non-playing staff without reducing that of players - Masters said clubs could go out of business if such a levy was imposed.

"You will appreciate like much of the productive economy in the UK we are losing revenue at an unprecedented level," Masters wrote.

"We face a £1bn loss, at least, if we fail to complete season 2019/20, and further losses going forward if the seriousness of the pandemic deepens and extends into the future.

Burnley also say they are abiding by the latest NHS and Government guidelines 0:43
Burnley chairman Mike Garlick says the club could run out of money by August If they are not back playing in the Premier League by then

"This would negatively impact not only the finances of the 20 Premier League clubs but would also have a significant detrimental effect across the whole professional landscape."

Masters: Furloughing staff up to individual clubs

Bournemouth, Newcastle, Norwich and Tottenham are among the clubs who have utilised the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to furlough non-playing staff.

Earlier this week, Premier League leaders and reigning European champions Liverpool backtracked on their original decision to furlough some 200 non-playing staff following an avalanche of criticism.

Also See:

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) general view outside the stadium prior to the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Liverpool FC and Atletico Madrid at Anfield on March 11, 2020 in Liverpool, United Kingdom 1:55
Former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann is pleased Liverpool have reversed their decision to furlough some non-playing staff

Solihull MP Knight was critical of Premier League teams taking advantage of the government scheme but Masters said clubs should not be treated separate to the rest of the economy.

"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," Masters wrote.

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

Richard Masters was previously the Premier League's Managing Director
Image: Richard Masters also told Mr Knight Premier League players and clubs contribute £3bn to the Exchequer in any given season

"Individual clubs will need to make these decisions based on their own forecasts as each club will have its own unique position. Government's measures have considered the whole economy.

"It is important to recognise that these decisions need to be taken with the short, medium and long-term all in mind.

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

Analysis: Premier League being unfairly singled out?

By Bryan Swanson, Chief Reporter, Sky Sports News

At a time when the death toll continues to rapidly rise around the world, the Premier League's top executives know that football pales into insignificance.

They want the game to return, but only when it is safe to do so.

In assessing Richard Masters' response to parliament, it is worth reading between the lines.

Does his response suggest a sense of surprise that football's top clubs have been singled out for criticism, by members of a committee which interrogate much more than one sport?

Julian Knight is chair of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) Committee and their focus is on more than football.

It includes all sports and other forms of entertainment.

On the emotive issue of top clubs requesting government bailouts for non-playing staff, Masters pointedly replied: "The furlough scheme announced by the Government is meant for the whole economy, including many enterprises which might be regarded as providing entertainment or otherwise dependent on elite talent. Government's measures have considered the whole economy."

In other words - every business should be protected, where is your criticism of others? It's not just well-paid footballers that are 'elite talent'.

Masters acknowledged: "We do agree with you that restraint needs to be shown by all and we, and our clubs, are doing just that."

But, to reinforce his earlier point, he reminded Knight: "Government's measures have considered the whole economy."

As Masters' letter highlights, Premier League clubs pay more than £3billion a season in tax, including more than £1billion by players.

But, as he wrote: "Clubs, like much of the UK economy, are facing tough decisions in relation to protecting their future and their employees."

What is clear is that, in these desperately sad times, the Premier League wants its clubs to be treated, and criticised, in the same way as every other major entertainment and media business.

PL owner: Dangerous game not accepting pay cuts

An unnamed Premier League club owner, meanwhile, has warned players are playing a dangerous game by not agreeing to take a 30 per cent wage cut immediately.

Gordon Taylor 1:18
Gordon Taylor says Premier League players feel as though they are being backed into a corner by calls for them to take a pay cut

He told Sky Sports News the situation is so serious clubs at all levels of the game - including the Premier League - could go out of business unless something is done soon about players' wages.

He also said it is possible games at the start of next season will be played behind closed doors.

Premier League clubs asked players to take a 30 per cent pay cut last Friday to protect jobs.

The Professional Footballers' Association wants pay cuts and deferrals to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

Join Sky Bet Club and track your progress towards a £5 free Bet

Join Sky Bet Club and track your progress towards a £5 free Bet

Opt in and bet £25 or more before 23:59 on Sunday. Free bets credited by 7pm on Monday.

Around Sky