Coronavirus wrap: Premier League to hold talks with PFA over player pay cuts

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Premier League clubs are due to speak to the Professional Footballers’ Association on Saturday over proposals that would see top-flight players take a 30 per cent pay cut to assist with the payment of non-playing staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

Stars and clubs have come under fire after some furloughed non-playing staff without looking at players’ wages during the Covid-19 crisis.

Following a meeting of Premier League shareholders on Friday, it was confirmed talks will be held with a view to wage cuts.

“In the face of substantial and continuing losses for the 2019-20 season since the suspension of matches began, and to protect employment throughout the professional game, Premier League clubs unanimously agreed to consult their players regarding a combination of conditional reductions and deferrals amounting to 30 per cent of total annual remuneration,” a statement from the
Premier League read.

“This guidance will be kept under constant review as circumstances change. The league will be in regular contact with the PFA and the union will join a meeting which will be held tomorrow between the league, players and club representatives.”

It was also acknowledged that the season could not begin in May, with the restart date to be kept under constant review.

The league also confirmed an immediate advance of £125million to the EFL and the National League, while a further £20m will be committed to the NHS, and others left vulnerable by the pandemic.

Football has come under increasing scrutiny as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to escalate, with health secretary Matt Hancock taking aim at top-flight players’ supposed inaction in Thursday’s daily briefing.

Norwich City v Liverpool – Premier League – Carrow Road
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson led talks between Premier League captains (Adam Davy/PA)

FIFA has raised the age limit to 24 for the men’s football tournament at next summer’s rearranged Olympics.

The tournament is usually for under-23s, but the governing body has made the change to allow players who were eligible for the Tokyo Games this summer to still take part next year.

Any player born on or after January 1, 1997 will be able to play, plus the three allocated over-aged players.

World Anti-Doping Agency president Witold Banka, meanwhile, has admitted hundreds of drug cheats will benefit from the postponement of the Olympics as they will now be eligible to compete next summer.

He said in the Times: “A ban is about the length of time, it is not dedicated to concrete sports events and if they happen or not.”

England’s leading cricketers announced their own response on Friday as the centrally-contracted members of the men’s and women’s teams agreed to make donations.

The men’s team will make a contribution of £500,000 to the England and Wales Cricket Board and selected good causes – equivalent to 20 per cent of their retainers for the next three months – while the women’s team will take a voluntary reduction of their salaries for April, May and June in line with those taken by coaches and support staff.

England women’s captain Heather Knight said: “All the players felt like it was the right response in the current climate to take a pay cut in line with what our support staff are taking.

“We know how the current situation is affecting the game and we want to help as much as we can. We will be discussing with the ECB further ways we can help the game in the coming weeks.”

In the week that saw this year’s Wimbledon tournament cancelled, the Lawn Tennis Association has announced a package of support worth around £20million for tennis venues, coaches, officials and players in Britain affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

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