I’ll say from the off that I’m not overly bothered either way about this but it’s a big talking point in the media.
There’s been much comment about clubs such as Liverpool and Spurs, who I both believe made £100 million profits according to the latest accounts, furloughing their non-playing staff and on the face of it, the complaints seem reasonable. They make massive profits and it seems they could easily afford to pay the wages, at least for a while.
But while those clubs are making profit, we all know that most clubs don’t.
Should we criticise those clubs if they go down the same route?
Certainly Aston Villa won’t be in a good place at the moment and I’ve seen it said that our extremely wealthy owners should continue to pay our staff’s wages.
My argument (and it’s not a strong stance on my part) would be that why should they have to carry the can just because they can?
The club will be losing money hand over fist and none of this is the owner’s doing, after all.
And then there’s the possibility that clubs might have to pay back television rights and sponsorship etc.
From what I’ve read, this might cost the Premier league clubs around £750 million, which is an eye-watering amount.
It should also be bourne in mind that these are Government rules, so the clubs are doing nothing wrong.
The staff can’t work because of Corona and they are entitled to be furloughed, it’s as simple as that.
How the country is going to pay for this is beyond me, but that’s a different subject.
But all this does beg the question of is it moral for massively profit making clubs to furlough workers?
Certainly from a personal point of view, the company I represent (I’m self-employed) are not taking advantage of this “free” money.
They have suffered a massive shortfall in work and instead of furloughing everyone, have simply made some people redundant because they don’t see things picking up even after the Corona thing is over.
That seems harsh, as they could have furloughed the workers and then made them redundant after.
But furloughing is supposed to be part of a job retention scheme and it just seems they’ve been honest about the situation. That hardly helps the workers, but I assume the company has had to pay redundancy pay etc, so it’s probably cost them severely.
As for me, I’ve been working constantly in an industry that can in no way be considered essential, in my opinion. But that’s just how it is.
Some might consider me selfish in continuing to work when there’s no need, but what am I supposed to do otherwise?
I’m due a payment that would probably see me through six months, as long as I get it(!).
I will probably qualify for the self employed protection scheme, but you can’t even apply until June at the earliest but that’s a long time with no income.
Yes, I could claim dole money, or whatever it’s called nowadays, but it wouldn’t even cover my Stella costs, let alone pay the bills. Benefits are a disgrace for the working man in this country, but again that’s another issue.
The point is I don’t want handouts and would rather earn my own keep, thank you very much.
Meanwhile, I maintain social distancing as much as possible at work, travel alone etc and continue to walk the dog occasionally at impossibly unsocial hours.
I’m not as irresponsible as the likes of Jack Grealish or Kyle Walker, for example.
Which goes back to the Prem players.
Again, on the face of it, it’s all very straightforward.
These players are minted, living in multi-million pound houses and getting more in a week than most earn in a year. They can afford a 30% cut, no problem.
And I can fully understand that viewpoint.
But no doubt the player’s stance will be “why should we?”
The moral answer will be “because when everyone else is suffering, you should shoulder some of the burden too”.
I can’t fault that sort of response either.
But let’s not forget that these players are contracted to be paid a certain amount and if the club can’t afford it, that’s their problem. They shouldn’t have agreed the contract in the first place.
And then there’s the issue of who would actually get the 30% anyway?
Ok, the club will save it, but it seems to me that if they were to take a pay cut, it’s the taxman who will also miss out, as he takes a large chunk of it anyway.
Of course, we’d like to think that the players have some loyalty to the club and won’t want to see it take a big hit.
But we all know it doesn’t work like that.
The argument is that their career is short-lived and they need to make as much money as possible, while they can.
With the money they earn, I’m not convinced by that, but that’s how it is.
I’ve seen mention of payment deferrments and that seems a sensible solution to me.
But I’ve also seen that players at at least one club have been asked to have their contract re-written at 10% lower.
That’s just plain wrong, in my opinion.