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Premier League, players unable to agree on proposed wage cuts

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Continuing to not handle the pandemic very well

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FBL-ENG-PR-HEALTH-VIRUS Photo by ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images

It was perhaps far too optimistic to expect that a single, less than 60-minute conference call would result in an agreement between the League and the Union regarding the proposed 30 per cent unilateral wage cuts (or deferments, depending on the specifics of if and when football might resume).

Representatives of all 20 clubs, including all club captains, as well as players’ union chief Gordon Taylor all attended the virtual meeting called by the Premier League yesterday, but they were unable to reach a decision on how exactly to handle this part of the League’s latest plan to handle the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 30 per cent proposed cuts are part of a larger resolution by the Premier League to act in a more socially responsible manner during these unprecedented times, including more overt support for health services, direct financial support for other football teams in need, and a clearer and stronger emphasis on not resuming football until it is deemed safe to do so.

But the players are so far reluctant to agree to the proposed wage cuts so suddenly, and apparently want further discussions regarding this measure. While that won’t help the optics of the situation, it is certainly understandable that they’d want full clarity before agreeing.

Less understandable is the PFA bringing up a bit of a strawman by warning that cutting player wages by a combined £500m+ will be detrimental to the NHS by way of a hit to the taxes collected (roughly £200m less income for the government), though if clubs can’t survive until then, that bit won’t matter much at all — not to mention, health services need support now; deficits in future budgets are a much smaller concern at the moment.

Meanwhile, certain Premier Leage clubs — namely Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Newcastle United, Norwich City and Bournemouth — have come under fire for furloughing their non-playing staff and directing them towards governmental resources and the Coronavirus job retention scheme. As far as we know, Chelsea are still paying all staff full wages, and have also offered up the stadium hotel for free use by NHS workers.