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Aston Villa players and staff agree 25 per cent wage deferral

Villa say the move will enable them to avoid furloughing any non-playing staff

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 23: Aston Villa club crest featuring the The Rampant Lion of Scotland hallmark on the side of the Trinity Road Stand at Villa Park, home of Aston Villa FC on March 23, 2020 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by VISIONHAUS)
Image: Villa say the wage deferral will help 'protect the livelihoods of our precious staff and their families'

Aston Villa's first-team players, coaches and senior management have agreed 25 per cent wage deferrals for the next four months to assist the club financially during the coronavirus pandemic.

Villa chief executive Christian Purslow said in a statement released on Saturday that the measures would enable the club to retain all non-football staff - including part-time workers - on full salaries throughout the lockdown.

"I am pleased to announce today measures to protect the livelihoods of our precious staff and their families," Purslow said.

Jack Grealish of Aston Villa looks dejected after defeat in the Premier League match between Leicester City and Aston Villa at The King Power Stadium on March 09, 2020 in Leicester, United Kingdom.
Image: Jack Grealish is captain of the Villa squad that has agreed a 25 per cent wage deferral

The move comes amid debate over whether it is right for Premier League players to take wage cuts and deferrals given the considerable wealth of the majority of club owners.

Purslow appeared to defend the club's owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, who bought Villa in the summer of 2018 before overseeing the club's return to the Premier League last season.

"During the two seasons since Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens rescued Aston Villa they have supported and funded the rebuilding of the club with a huge level of personal financial investment," Purslow said.

"They are continuing to provide substantial funding which, combined with these significant salary deferrals, enables Aston Villa to confirm that all non-football staff - full and part time - will be retained and paid in full throughout the lockdown.

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Aston Villa owners Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris
Image: Villa chief executive Christian Purslow praised the contribution of club owners Wes Edens (L) and Nassef Sawiris (R)

"There will be no furloughing of staff."

Norwich and Newcastle are currently the only top-flight clubs using the government's job retention scheme, while Liverpool, Tottenham and Bournemouth all reversed their decision to furlough non-playing staff, following widespread criticism.

Purslow also urged the Premier League "as a whole" to take action and "provide vital funding" to support clubs lower down the football pyramid.

The club has also made Villa Park available to the NHS during the crisis, with a maternity clinic set to open at the stadium on Monday.

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