June 15, 2024

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‘Morally wrong’ – Call for Premier League clubs to face new tax if player salaries not cut during coronavirus

Premier League clubs should be hit with a windfall tax if they continue to cut pay of non-playing staff while maintaining the huge salaries of their players, according to a senior politician.

Julian Knight MP, who is committee chair of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, has urged the British government to act over what he calls a “two-tier system”.

The tax would allow the Treasury to recover a portion of money paid to players in order to reimburse staff placed on furlough leave by clubs.

In a letter to Premier League CEO Richard Masters, Knight says: “I am writing to express my strong dismay at the decision of certain clubs to furlough non-playing staff while continuing to pay players. This two-tier system is morally wrong, especially given the extremely high wages paid to players.

“Non-playing staff keep Premier League clubs in business. It is deeply unfair that these staff should take less money home while players retain their full salary.”

Knight demands an answer from Masters, and a plan for action, by April 7.

In a separate letter, to Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, Knight says: “If clubs insist on maintaining this current two-tier strategy, they should face sanctions. As such, I have asked the Premier League to seek to broker an agreement between member clubs to change their approach.

“I would like to propose that, if this action is not taken by next Tuesday (April 7), you consider, in due course, imposing a windfall tax to Premier League clubs to recover a substantial proportion of the money that clubs are paying to players.”

Tottenham were criticised after cutting wages of all 550 non-playing staff by 20 per cent, while chairman Daniel Levy merely said he hoped players and coaches would “do their bit” during the coronavirus pandemic.

Several major European clubs, including Bayern Munich, Juventus and Barcelona, reached agreements with players to take pay cuts.

Atletico Madrid’s first-team squad have also taken a 70 per cent pay cut during Spain’s state of emergency.  

However some Premier League clubs have seen coaching staff take pay cuts following the suspension of top level English football last month.

Brighton manager Graham Potter, chief executive Paul Barber and technical director Dan Ashworth have taken a ‘significant voluntary pay cut’ for the next three months, following Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe, who also agreed to sacrifice some of his salary.

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