British footballers and clubs clash over plans to cut wages

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MANCHESTER, England, Apr 6 (Reuters) – With the world’s highest-paid footballers, billionaire club owners, politicians under pressure and even a millionaire union leader involved, it is perhaps not surprising that negotiations to cut wages in the league more have not yet reached a friendly conclusion.

However, what worries those seeking to end the stalemate in the negotiations the most is that the two main sides – clubs and players – seem to be talking about two entirely different issues.

The gap is so large that, while talks are expected to continue, the most likely outcome – according to sources consulted by Reuters – is a series of individual club deals with players rather than a nationwide deal.

At the meetings, the Premier League squads called for a “combination of reductions and conditional deferrals for 30% of total annual compensation.”

The clubs say they need to reduce their payroll account temporarily, to be able to cover their expenses at a time when they have suffered a big reduction in income.

Almost a month has passed since the ball stopped rolling, four weeks without a televised match and no box office revenue, with the risk still in force that the season cannot be completed and that the channels claim up to 760 million pounds ( $ 933.89 million) in payments to the clubs.

The teams say they want players to help limit the damage by accepting a cut in their salary package. Premier clubs spend on average about 60% of their income on salaries.

The average monthly salary for a Premier player is around £ 240,000 and the highest paid, Manchester United’s Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea, earns an estimated £ 1.5m a month.

The Professional Footballers Association (PFA), which represents players at all levels, including lower-paid lower leagues, indicated that its constituents are willing to give up part of their income, but do not want them to keep it. club owners.

“It’s not that they (the players) don’t appreciate the gravity of what we’re going through,” union chief Gordon Taylor said Monday. “It is that if their money is being affected, they want to know what happens to it, and they would like to be able to choose where it goes.”

The teams have been surprised by this response, as they are not asking the footballers to make donations, but to defer their income. The league agreed to donate £ 20 million to the National Health System (NHS) and local communities.

The players’ stance has hardened since Health Minister Matt Hancock said wages should be cut and “do your part.” They quickly responded that they are doing so through individual charities and the NHS.

If all this pulse seems incredible to the general public, at a time when the United Kingdom is fighting a pandemic that has claimed 4,897 lives to date and is dealing with a confinement that is affecting the economy, the decision of clubs like Liverpool Asking for public funds to pay your non-soccer employees doesn’t help much either.

Furthermore, many clubs are frustrated with PFA. The union gets most of its income from a share in the TV deals, and Taylor, 75, is considered the highest-paid union leader in the UK, with an annual salary of £ 2.3m.

However, teams have few options, since the unilateral imposition of salary cuts could end in lawsuits by players in court, possible contract breaks and the conversion of footballers into free agents.

($ 1 = 0.8138 pounds)

(Edited in Spanish by Carlos Serrano)

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