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Expert comment: Footballers must take the lead on salary cuts – University of Reading

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Expert comment: Footballers must take the lead on salary cuts

Release Date 03 April 2020

Expert comment

Professor Adrian Bell, football economist and Research Dean for Prosperity and Resilience at the University of Reading, said:

“Whilst I have commented it is right for footballers to think about cutting wages - once politicians start demanding it, I tend to think it might be the wrong thing to be doing.

“Footballers should be working together with the PFA, LMA, and leagues for a joint approach which helps the survival of their competitions, their clubs and to ensure all non-playing staff continue to get 100% of their salaries whilst on furlough.

“I think this will lead to a salary cut, but like Lionel Messi commented earlier in the week, it should be the footballers leading on this and not the authorities trying to shame them into these moves.  Just to say they should cut - without any real idea of why or what this would do, other than satisfy the current culture of shame and blame deflection - is not helpful.

“It is clear footballers and football clubs have been helping in many ways - from Marcus Rashford helping organise food for children who are missing their free school dinners, to Watford opening up their stadium, to Chelsea offering their hotel to NHS staff - but this isn’t the narrative that is currently being highlighted.

“Before we lose perspective on this - remember other citizens with large salaries working for a range of companies who are able to ‘work from home’ continue to received 100% of their pay, whilst many of the workers in these same companies are being furloughed or laid off - but nobody comments on the long term damage we are creating here or globally.

“Finally, why are we not questioning the large tax payer subsidies being paid over the furlough period to employers like Starbucks? It is an irony that taxpayers are, in effect, bailing out a multinational company, who have famously minimised the amount of corporation tax they have paid in the UK for many years.  We didn’t take this bailout so meekly when it was the banks being bailed out a decade ago.”

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