English Football League strikes deal with PFA on wage deferrals
The English Football League (EFL) has agreed a "compromise proposal" with the body representing the country's professional players, allowing clubs to defer 25 per cent of their wages for April amid the Covid-19 pandemic, it said yesterday.
Professional football in England has been suspended since March 13 due to the pandemic, with several clubs putting non-playing staff on leave.
The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) previously accepted that players would have to be flexible and share the financial burden of the impact of the virus, which has infected nearly two million people globally, killing more than 119,000.
"In order to deal with the most immediate payroll issue, the EFL is recommending to clubs that local discussions are held with players in respect of the month of April only," the EFL said in a statement.
"A compromise proposal has been agreed between the EFL and the PFA for those clubs engaged in deferral negotiations with their players, meaning that up to a maximum of 25% of players' wages for April may be conditionally deferred."
The EFL, which oversees the three tiers below the Premier League - the Championship, League One and League Two - added that players earning less than £2,500 (S$4,400) per month will be paid in full and the 25 per cent reduction must not take any player below £2,500 per month.
"This is a recommendation and not a directive as there are clubs who have stated no requirement to take immediate action at this time," the EFL added.
"Further conditions may be agreed at a local level through discussions between individual clubs and players."
The EFL and PFA will also form a working group of six club captains/PFA delegates from League One and Two, supported by a representative nominated by the PFA, to engage in dialogue in respect of players' wages. - REUTERS
Wage deferral helps to protect Southampton: James Ward-Prowse
Southampton's players and senior staff wanted to protect the club and repay their community when they accepted wage deferrals and were not influenced by external pressure, said vice-captain James Ward-Prowse.
The club were the first in the English Premier League to announce that players and coaching staff would defer part of their salaries for April, May and June to help weather the shutdown brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Like many other leagues, the EPL has been suspended indefinitely due to the outbreak, with the UK on lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
"It was never about doing it quickly or facing any pressure," midfielder Ward-Prowse told the BBC.
"It was about making sure we made the right decision for the people and the community and we definitely have done that.
"We wanted to make a good, mature, calculated decision on what was needed.
"It wasn't done for a 'well done, you're the first club to do it'.
"It was done out of thinking ahead and thinking what is best for the club and the community."
With the EPL at a standstill, footballers are facing pressure to accept wage cuts.
The players' union, however, questioned the league's call for a 30 per cent player wage reduction, saying it would reduce tax revenue for the National Health Service.
Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur have both reversed decisions to furlough non-playing employees, after fierce criticism of the moves, while West Ham United followed Southampton by announcing wage deferrals for players. - REUTERS