Coronavirus: Matt Hancock tells Premier League players to ‘play their part’ and take pay cuts

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told Premier League footballers to take a look at the NHS staff members who have sacrificed their lives in order to fight the coronavirus pandemic, and called on them to “play their part” and take a pay cut to look after others who are less fortunate.

The country’s leading clubs are coming under increased pressure for cutting salaries of non-playing staff and placing them on the Government’s furlough scheme, with Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United, Norwich City and Bournemouth all announcing such measures this week in order to protect the jobs of those who in other circumstances may be out of work.

However, the move has come against a glaring omission from players to do the same, with Premier League players taking advice from the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) not to accept requests to slash wages until they have discussed the matter with the union. Talks between the Premier League, English Football League (EFL) and PFA continued on Wednesday where it was made clear that players will need to share the financial pain that is being felt by staff at clubs across the nation, but as yet there has been no announcement on salary reductions in order to protect the jobs of those less well-off.

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That has triggered a response from the Government, with Mr Hancock asked about the matter at Thursday’s daily coronavirus briefing.

“I think everybody needs to play their part in this national effort and that means Premier League footballers too,” the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care said. 

“Given the sacrifices people are making, including some of my colleagues in the NHS, who have made the ultimate sacrifice and gone into work and caught the disease and have sadly died, I think the first thing Premier League footballers can do is make a contribution; take a pay cut and play their part.”

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