Gary Lineker has warned against a ‘judgemental pile-on’ on footballers who have not taken a pay cut during the coronavirus crisis after Matt Hancock urged them to ‘play their part’ and use their wealth to support club staff being furloughed.
The former England striker and Match of the Day host believes that Premier League stars should not be vilified yet and said: ”I think a lot of footballers will do something’.
But he did blast his former club Spurs – one of four clubs who have furloughed non-playing staff, who will now be paid 80 per cent of their salary up to £2,500-a-month by the taxpayer when their stars remain on lucrative deals worth millions of pounds a year.
Mr Lineker said: ‘The way Tottenham have handled it I don’t think has been very good But that is a separate issue to what the players do. My inkling is that footballers will take pay cuts, they will help out in communities, they will make donations in whatever way they can, and I think we need to be a little bit patient with them.’
He spoke out Gary Neville has accused Matt Hancock of having a ‘f***ing cheek’ after the Health Secretary said Premier League footballers should give up some of their pay packets.
And Tottenham MP David Lammy said: ‘It’s criminal that Premier League footballers haven’t moved more quickly to take pay cuts and deferrals. And completely wrong that taxpayers are now being asked to subsidise cleaners, caterers and security guards at these clubs instead’.
Gary Lineker has warned against a ‘judgemental pile-on’ on footballers who have not taken a pay cut during the coronavirus crisis – because he believes they will
Health minister Matt Hancock suggested Premier League footballers should take a pay cut. However, Gary Neville responded on Twitter, calling Hancock’s statement ‘a f****** cheek’
I’ve been furloughed: What does it mean, why are companies doing this and what happens next?
Until a fortnight ago, it’s unlikely many British workers had ever encountered the term ‘furloughed’, but now it is a concept that has been thrust into the spotlight by the coronavirus crisis.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled a series of measures to cover the wages of millions of people suddenly left without work and prevent businesses going bankrupt due to the coronavirus crisis – and furloughing staff lays at the heart of it.
Sunak said the Government will cover 80 per cent of salaries up to a ceiling of £2,500 a month – equivalent to the UK average wage of £30,000 a year.
The scheme, open to all firms with employees, will be up and running by the end of April and backdated to March 1.
But in order to access it, businesses will have to ‘furlough’ their employees who they can no longer afford to pay.
This term, until now more or less unknown in the UK, is suddenly popping up everywhere, with easyJet just one among the many companies announcing a two-month furlough for its cabin crew who can’t work after the company grounded all of its flights.
Here we explain what furlough means and what it entails for workers and businesses.
What does it mean to be ‘furloughed’?
Essentially, if you’re being furloughed by your employer, it means you’re being sent home, but will still receive 80 per cent of your salary by the Government, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.
This Government job retention scheme is only for employed people, it does not apply if you are self-employed.
However, you first need to agree to be put on furlough by your employer, who can then apply for the money to the Government. You cannot apply for it yourself.
Your employer can choose to pay the remaining 20 per cent of your wages, although it is not obliged to do so.
If you earn more than £2,500 a month, your employer can choose to ‘top up’ your salary, but again it is not forced to do so.
You will still continue to pay income tax and national insurance contributions while on furlough.
Can I be furloughed if I’m on a zero-hour contract?
Yes. Also if you’re on a flexible contract or are employed by an agency.
If you are on a zero-hour contract, which means you don’t necessarily earn the same amount each month, your employer should give you the 80 per cent of your average monthly salary since you started working.
That also applies to workers who have been employed for less than a year.
If you’ve worked for your employer for a year or more, you should receive 80 per cent of your average monthly salary, or 80 per cent of what you earned in the same month during the previous year – whichever is highest.
If you started work only in February, your employer will pro-rata your earnings from that month. But if you’ve started working on 28 February or after, you are not eligible.
If you have been made redundant after February 28, or even if you left a job after that date, you could be reemployed under furlough if your employer is willing to do so. Otherwise you will have to claim unemployment.
Can I be forloughed if I’m sick?
If you’re fallen ill and in the meantime your employer has had to shut down, you should first get statutory sick pay first, but can be furloughed after this.
Those who are self-isolating because of coronavirus can also be placed on furlough.
People who are ‘shielding’ and are vulnerable to potential severe illness caused by the coronavirus, can also be placed on furlough.
At the moment, employees can be furloughed from a minimum of three weeks up to three months, although the Government may look to extend that if needed.
Which businesses can apply?
Any company with employees can apply, including charities, recruitment agencies and public authorities.
However, the Government does not expect many public sector organisations to apply, as ‘the majority of public sector employees are continuing to provide essential public services or contribute to the response to the coronavirus outbreak’.
Organisations who are receiving public funding specifically to provide services necessary to respond to the coronavirus outbreak are not expected to furlough staff.
Employers can furlough staff for a minimum of three weeks and are not allowed to rotate employees on furlough.
In order to access the scheme, businesses need to change the status of their employees to furlough workers and submit the information to HMRC.
HMRC are currently working to set up a system for reimbursing companies.
Mr Hancock said top-flight footballers needed to ‘make a contribution and take a pay cut,’ with many clubs facing financial difficulties due to matches being suspended, saying the stars must: ‘Take a pay cut, play your part’.
He said that ‘given NHS staff making the ultimate sacrifice getting into work and have caught the diseases and sadly died, I think the first thing Premier League footballers can do is make a contribution’.
However, Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville said his statement was ‘a f***ing cheek, adding: ‘I wish I was a player for 10 more mins. The PL players are more than likely working on a proposal to help clubs, communities and the NHS. It takes longer than 2 weeks to put together.
‘Matt Hancock calling them out when he can’t get tests in place for NHS staff is a [email protected]@@@@g cheek!’
Piers Morgan also piled in last night and said: ‘Will Mr Hancock & his cabinet colleagues also be taking a pay cut – or is the intention here just to shame footballers who haven’t said they won’t?’
A major row is brewing over footballers’ pay, but Gary Lineker has said that players should be given a chance to support non-playing staff before a ‘judgemental pile-on’ begins.
Lineker told BBC Radio 4’s ‘World at One’: ‘The way Tottenham have handled it I don’t think has been very good – what they are doing to their staff I don’t agree with whatsoever.
‘But that is a separate issue to what the players do. It’s the club that has said that the players are going to carry on with their wages, but let’s see how the players react to it.’
But PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor defied the government and the Premier League last night by insisting that top-flight players would not take pay cuts to ease the financial pressure on clubs caused by the coronavirus crisis. In a strongly-worded statement that followed lengthy talks with the Premier League, EFL and League Managers Association that broke up without agreement the PFA also criticised big clubs such as Tottenham and Newcastle, who have taken advantage of the government’s job retention scheme to furlough non-playing staff at the expense of the tax payer.
The Premier League and EFL had spent the afternoon attempting to persuade the PFA to endorse a universal financial settlement package for players involving deferrals and potentially cuts ahead of today’s crucial conference call of the 20 top-flight clubs, who had hoped to rubberstamp that agreement. Sportsmail has learnt that the proposal put to the PFA involved players accepting a deferral of a fixed percentage of their salary for three months followed by a cut if football has not resumed by the middle of the summer.
The PFA have not ruled out advising players to accept deferrals, although the percentage has yet to be agreed with the figures mooted by both sides ranging from between 25 and 50 per cent, but made it clear they would not accept wage cuts. In an incendiary statement released less than an hour after health secretary Matt Hancock had called on players to ‘take a pay cut and play their part’ the PFA dismissed that suggestion out of hand.
‘Each club’s financial standing will vary,’ the statement read. ‘We are aware of the public sentiment that the players should pay non-playing staff’s salaries. However, our current position is that – as businesses – if clubs can afford to pay their players and staff, they should.’
Taylor is the highest-paid union official in the country with a salary of £2.2million and has developed a reputation as a hard-nosed negotiator, which he has had no qualms about displaying despite the country facing a national emergency and unprecedented public health crisis. In addition to refusing to bow to the increasing public pressure for pay cuts the PFA also accused clubs who have furloughed staff of damaging society simply to protect the wealth of their shareholders.
‘The players we have spoken recognise that the non-playing staff are a vital part of their club and they do not want to see club staff furloughed unfairly,’ the statement read. ‘Any use of the government’s support schemes without genuine financial need is detrimental to the wider society. In instances where clubs have the resources to pay all staff, the benefit of players paying non-playing staff salaries will only serve the business of the club’s shareholders.’
The PFA’s statement followed a day of mounting political pressure, which culminated in Hancock using part of the government’s daily press briefing to publicly call players to take a pay cut.
‘Given the sacrifices that many people are making, including some of my colleagues in the NHS, who have made the ultimate sacrifice getting into work and have caught the diseases and sadly died, I think the first thing Premier League footballers can do is make a contribution, take a pay cut and play their part,’ he said.
Earlier in the day the chair of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport select committee, Julian Knight, called on the government to impose a windfall tax on clubs who refused to cut wages.
‘We are facing an obscene situation where top players who aren’t working are continuing to see hundreds of thousands of pounds roll in each week while the staff who keep the clubs going are losing wages,’ ‘Knight said. ‘If the Premier League isn’t going to act to resolve this crisis then the government must step in by imposing a significant financial penalty on clubs to reimburse those hit hardest in the pocket. That’s why I have written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak today demanding that Premier League clubs do the right thing by Tuesday next week or face the consequences.’
Tottenham MP David Lammy says it’s ‘criminal’ that footballers aren’t already supporting non-playing staff
Piers Morgan is among those who believe footballers will play their part – and are being unfairly shamed before they have the chance to take a cut
Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust has called on Levy to make a bigger financial contribution to help the club cover non-playing staff’s wages.
It said in a statement: ‘We are aware that no football club can impose contract changes on its playing or coaching staff without agreement with the respective unions, the PFA and LMA (League Managers’ Association).
‘So the comment that THFC has chosen to cut non-playing staff wages while choosing not to cut playing staff wages is inaccurate.
‘But there is nothing to stop the club’s players making a voluntary contribution to ensure that the most vulnerable do not bear too great a burden.
‘And there is nothing to stop the club’s directors, including the chairman, making a further personal contribution on top of their 20 per cent wage cuts. Points we have made directly to the club board and will continue to do so.
‘We have made it clear that this is a course of action fans would overwhelmingly support.’
Players across Spain and Italy have agreed voluntary pay-cuts with the entire Barcelona squad, led by Lionel Messi, agreeing to 70% reductions while the coronavirus crisis continues.