Premier League clubs threatened with extra tax on players’ wages

Tottenham, Newcastle and Norwich have said they will use the government scheme to pay 80 per cent of their non-playing staff's salaries.

The English football shutdown has been extended till April 30.   -  Getty Images

Premier League clubs that use government money for the salaries of non-playing staff, while continuing to pay players their full wage could be hit by a new tax.

Julian Knight, who chairs the British government’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, expressed his “dismay” at clubs using the government’s furlough scheme which will guarantee 80 percent of salary for staff members up to a maximum of 2,500 pound (USD 3,000) a month.

Tottenham, Newcastle and Norwich have so far said they will use the scheme for non-playing staff, although Norwich will top up the government’s contribution to ensure 100 per cent of salaries are paid.

The Premier League are in discussions with the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) but no cuts have so far been agreed for players’ salaries.

“I am writing to express my dismay at the decision of certain PL clubs to furlough non-playing staff while continuing to pay players. This two-tier system is morally wrong,” said Knight in a letter addressed to Premier League CEO Richard Masters.

“The purpose of the Coronavirus Job Retentions Scheme is not to support the economics of Premier League clubs.”

READ: Coronavirus: Eddie Howe first Premier League boss to take pay cut

Knight has proposed a “financial redress” where the Exchequer recoups a proportion of the money clubs pay to the players if there is no change of approach.

Brighton announced on Thursday that chief executive Paul Barber, technical director Dan Ashworth and manager Graham Potter have taken a “significant voluntary pay cut” for the next three months.

“This is to help (owner) Tony (Bloom) to ensure none of our core staff suffer a wage reduction during this uncertain period for our business,” said Barber.

“We consider ourselves to be very fortunate to be working for the best of clubs at the most difficult of times, so it is entirely appropriate that we play a very small part in reducing the financial burden.”

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe became the first prominent Premier League player or manager to take a voluntary wage cut on Wednesday.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has called on players to do “their bit for the football eco system.” Players at Barcelona have taken a 70 per cent pay cut, while the Juventus squad have agreed to stop their wages for four months.

Football in England is suspended until April 30, but a meeting of Premier League clubs on Friday is expected to push that date back further.

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