Chelsea have been paying full wages to all players and staff throughout the first month of the coronavirus crisis, and while that’s not changing anytime soon for the latter group, the former are starting negotiations for wage cuts to help save a bit on the club’s bottom line.
Led by captain César Azpilicueta, the players are reportedly looking to agree cuts of 10 per cent across the board. This is below the Premier League’s “suggested” 30 per cent (is anyone actually following that?), which makes for juicy and clicky headlines that play on the continuing moral outrage against the profession (including from the Telegraph), but is more or less in line with what Arsenal players negotiated this week for example (12.5 per cent).
In addition to potential wage cuts — which could include head coach Frank Lampard eventually as well — the players have already made a “sizeable” donation to the Chelsea Foundation, according to the report. Azpilicueta was also involved in the creation of the #PlayersTogether charity fund that aims to support the NHS in their fight against the spread of COVID-19 with direct donations from football players — rather than the more circuitous and less transparent route of wage cuts.
With Chelsea able to pay all staff (including matchday and hospitality staff despite there being no actual matchdays), while also opening up the hotel for free use by the NHS (both the Millennium and the Copthorne towers now) and providing free meals to healthcare workers as well as the elderly and infirm, any additional savings that can be provided by these wage cuts should be able to go to a good cause.
Sure, 30 per cent would play better in PR, but these negotiations appear to be happening with good intentions and in the spirit of cooperation, so let’s see what they might agree on before climbing the mountain of conflict.