"This idea that players should take a pay cut, I think that is nonsense. It's up to the individual," Keane tells The Football Show
Friday 24 April 2020 22:47, UK
Roy Keane has urged players at top Premier League clubs to “stick to their guns” and not be pressured into accepting pay cuts.
The former Manchester United captain has hit out at criticism directed towards players at the top end of the Premier League and calls for blanket wage reductions to be implemented.
For Keane, wages and contracts are personal matters between a player and a club, and whether someone wants to donate part of their salary should be their decision alone.
"There is pressure on players at the really big clubs, clubs with wealthy owners, to take pay cuts," he told The Football Show.
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"The way I look at it now, particularly after the way I left Manchester United, I wouldn't take a pay cut from anybody if I was at one of the bigger clubs.
"I know there is pressure on players, but it is nobody's business what you do with your wages. You take your wages and if you want to be generous, go ahead and do it. I don't think players should feel pressured by clubs, particularly the bigger clubs, to take pay cuts.
"They have signed a contract, and your contract with a club is a personal matter. This idea that all players should take a pay cut, or that all the players have to do this, I think that is nonsense. It's up to the individual.
"If they want to stick to their guns and say they want their full wages when you've got a billionaire in the background, do it. Don't be swayed by some sort of pressure from the media, who write lies anyway about certain players.
"There is a lot of speculation out there, I don't think anybody should believe anything they are reading about what players are doing. I am really surprised at the amount of people jumping on the bandwagon with the criticism of the players, it's nobody's business.
"I'm talking about the top clubs here with the really wealthy owners, obviously the clubs in the owner leagues are having to make sacrifices, but the players at the top at clubs that have the money, stick to your guns."
Players in the Premier League have been approached and discussions have taken place over potential wage reductions, but Keane has stressed that players are within their rights to insist their contracts are honoured.
"When I was at Nottingham Forest or Manchester United, negotiating new deals or leaving the club, the club made it pretty clear to me on any aspect of contract negotiations that it was a business, and I understood that," he added.
"But I signed a contract, and I expected the club to honour that contract. I know circumstances have changed but I am speaking about the clubs that have the money available.
"When the clubs with billionaire owners in the background come to the players and say they are in trouble, no, no, you honour the contract.
"I was in a brilliant dressing room at Manchester United, a lot of different characters and different traits, and if certain players wanted to give up some of their wages or keep of their wages then good luck to them.
"That's up to the player, the individual. This idea that we should be getting players to give up their wages at these big clubs, forget about it because these clubs are the first to tell you 'this is a business, lads, this is how it works'.
"These guys who are billionaires in the background are ruthless, they are shrewd people. Then they come and talk to the players about cashflow problems, I've heard it all before. I'd take no notice of it."
Gary Neville joined Keane on The Football Show and the Sky Sports pundit reiterated calls for the Premier League as an organisation to utilise its position at the top of the English game to come up with a financial care package that will ensure clubs in the EFL and National League survive the ongoing suspension of football.
"I mentioned that the Premier League should go and borrow a billion pounds," he said. "It was a number that, to be fair, I just said flippantly on the show at that time against their future income sources. The future revenues are into tens of billions for the Premier League, more if they wanted to extend their TV contracts.
"The idea of borrowing at this time - £300m, £400m, £500m, which is more than an affordable number - doing a soft deal with the bank on a loan to give the FA, the EFL, the players, whoever it is, the National League need £15m.
"I've gone from opportunity, to despair, to almost now pleading with somebody at the Premier League just to do the right thing for the game. Why am I on calls with chairman and owners of EFL League Two clubs who are desperate, who don't know how to pay their next wages, they are worried the clubs are going to go bust for the sake of a few million pounds?
"You hear National League chairmen who need £10-15m across the National League to prop up the 68 clubs at that level up. You've got the FA who are potentially going to fall over with loads of money being lost on their revenue streams and it's just quite an amount for the Premier League to deal with.
"Once the Premier League do that and do the right thing, they can then be seen as the organisation that they should be, which is a fantastic organisation - the biggest export around the world of English product around the world is the Premier League - £1.5billion every week and everybody loves it.
"We need to fall in love with it again, they need to look after football quickly. Obviously in the meantime look after their own clubs because they are so important to everything we do."
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