Wayne Rooney criticized those who ask that Premier League footballers cut their wages: “Why are we the scapegoats?”


Wayne Rooney He has criticized the UK government and the Premier League for putting footballers in a “no win situation” over proposed pay cuts after players were urged to make sacrifices during the coronavirus crisis.

The former England captain, who now plays for second division Derby County FC, wrote a passionate column in the Sunday times in which he argues that his professional colleagues are “easy targets” in the broader response to the pandemic.

This came after the Association of Professional Footballers (PFA) argued that a 30% cut in wages could indirectly harm the National Health Service (NHS) administered by the state of Great Britain, because it would affect tax revenue.

Rooney indicated that he has the means and the will to make financial contributions, either in the form of salary reductions or direct donations to the NHS, but he felt that the public pressure exerted on the players was not helpful.

The strategy suggested by the Premier League involving a combination of salary cuts and deferrals amounting to 30 percent of wages, was discussed in a conference call with player and manager representatives on Saturday, but there was no agreement. Initial talks were already taking place before key political figures, including Health Secretary Matt Hancock, called for action.

“If the government approached me to financially help nurses or buy ventilators, I would be proud to do so, as long as I knew where the money is going.”wrote the 34-year-old, who added: “I am in a place where I could give up something. Not all footballers are in the same position. However, suddenly the entire profession has been put in place with a demand for 30 percent pay cuts, why are footballers suddenly being scapegoats?

“How the last days have developed is a shame,” he remarked.

The Premier League seeks a general consensus, unlike what happened in other countries where each club negotiated with its rosters. In this framework, the media focus has been nailed to British soccer players who are accused of refusing to reduce their assets: “In my opinion, now is a situation of not winning,” said Rooney. “Whatever way you look at it, we are easy targets.”

The former Manchester United scorer acknowledged that the Premier League’s contribution of more than $ 21 million to the NHS was “a drop in the ocean” compared to the amount that clubs would save with pay cuts, but he wondered why other sports stars weren’t the center of similar attention.

The former England striker, Gary Lineker, echoed Rooney’s feelings and in statements to the BBC revealed that the footballers he had spoken to were “desperately interested” in offering help, but they were an easy target: “Why not turn to all the wealthy to try to help if possible instead of just pestering the footballers? ”.

“No one seems to be talking about the bankers, the CEOs, the big millionaires. They are standing? Are they asked to do so? We do not know, “said the former footballer.

For its part, the PFA said its members wanted to do their part, but warned that a proposed 30 percent pay cut would cost the country £ 200 million ($ 245 million) in lost tax revenue. England manager Gareth Southgate has received a 30 percent pay cut, although the Football Association has yet to confirm the move.

A handful of top-tier clubs, including last year’s Champions League finalists Liverpool and Tottenham, have chosen to suspend part of the staff using the safety net of the government job retention scheme. Former Liverpool players, including Jamie Carragher, strongly criticized the move by the European champions, who in February announced £ 42m pre-tax profit for 2018/19.

Manchester City said they have no plans to fire employees: “We remain determined to protect our people, their jobs, and our business.”

Rooney’s former teammate in England and Manchester United, Gary Neville, now one of the main broadcasters, was highly critical of the Premier League: “They are handling the CV (coronavirus) crisis terribly”he wrote on Twitter.