According to the Evening Standard, Premier League and EFL Clubs are exploring the possibility of furloughing their entire playing squads, allowing them to save a significant chunk on their wage bills.
The governments job retention scheme allows for up 80% of someones wages to be paid up to the value of £2,500.
Given that most players in the top two divisions earn significantly more than that, it wouldn’t make too much difference in all reality – but the clubs think it would allow them to pay the players full wages while saving £60k per month.
Plenty of clubs across the EFL especially have already placed the majority of their non-playing staff on furlough leave.
They have been reluctant to do this with the players though as the playing staff do not have a leave of absence clause written into their contracts – the clubs are worried some players will use the situation to force a free transfer.
Another potential avenue a lot of the clubs have explored is wage deferrals – the Evening Standard report states that Birmingham City have asked all of their playing staff to take a wage deferral.
Some EFL clubs look set to get to the wall
Clubs across the continent, especially in Germany, have seen their playing staff and high paid directors take wage cuts in order to make sure the non-playing staff have their full wage paid. It seems some English clubs will look to follow that example.
The chief executive of the Professional Footballers Association (PFA), Gordon Taylor, has expressed his concern at the possibility of players not being paid in full.
“The meeting is to talk about all the issues, finances, contracts, returning to training,” Taylor said. “We are just trying to get some consistency.
Welfare of the players is the priority. These are worrying times for players as well as clubs — and we know from before that some owners have not been the best at paying players on time.”
A PFA statement read: “The PFA has called for an urgent meeting with both the Premier League and English Football League to discuss the impact that the Covid-19 crisis is having on the finances of both clubs and players.
“As with other industries, the current Covid-19 crisis is having a severe impact on the finances of the game. Several clubs have already approached players with a view to imposing pay deferrals.
“In order to deal with this, we have called for an urgent meeting with the Premier League and the EFL to discuss how we might proceed going forward.”
In terms of the furlough, I can see why the EFL clubs would do it – in fact, I think it’s perfect for them to do so, particularly the League One and League Two clubs.
As for the Premier League clubs, there’s no way in hell any of the 20 Premier League clubs should need to furlough their players – it’s a totally selfish waste of government money.
This is a league wherein the team who finishes last will receive over £100m in television money – so what need do they have to take £60k per month from the government?
For me, the Premier League teams should be taking the lead of the four German Champions League representatives, whom this week announced they will be paying 20m Euros to the German Football League (DFL) to distribute to the lower league/lower income clubs to help them through this tough situation.
The money they have donated is the remainder of the television money they were due to receive – they instead decided to forego that payment and use it to help out the other teams.
Surely the Premier League clubs can come to some sort of arrangement with the FA wherein they can pay a small amount each into a fund to help out the lower league clubs? This isn’t an unreasonable request… is it?
At this moment in time, it’s important that the football world come together to help one another out. It’s not the time for the richest clubs in the country to be selfish – it’s time to help keep the essence of the English game alive and kicking.