Premier League makes £20m NHS donation as talks begin over wage deferrals

The Premier League has confirmed it will immediately donate £20million to the NHS.

In the face of mounting criticism and pressure, clubs also unanimously agreed to consult with their players concerning a 30% wage deferral to assist with the payment of non-playing staff during the pandemic which has claimed over 3,500 lives in the UK already.

The world’s richest football league had been criticised for failing to take charitable action sooner, while on Thursday Health Secretary Matt Hancock urged footballers to ‘play their part’ and help provide aid during a mounting crisis.

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Manchester United captain Harry Maguire, it emerged earlier on Friday, has already asked his teammates to take a 30% cut, while Jordan Henderson is reported to be at the centre of a drive to set-up a coronavirus NHS fund.

‘In the face of substantial and continuing losses for the 2019-20 season since the suspension of matches began, and to protect employment throughout the professional game, Premier League clubs unanimously agreed to consult their players regarding a combination of conditional reductions and deferrals amounting to 30% of total annual remuneration,’ a statement from the Premier League read.

‘This guidance will be kept under constant review as circumstances change. The league will be in regular contact with the PFA and the union will join a meeting which will be held tomorrow between the league, players and club representatives.

‘In consultation with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Premier League is immediately committing £20 million to support the NHS, communities, families and vulnerable groups during the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘This includes a direct financial contribution to the NHS and funds to enable clubs to refocus their efforts and develop significant outreach programmes to help communities, including those most in need.’

As expected, it was also confirmed that the season could not resume in May, with the restart date to be kept under constant review. The league also confirmed an immediate advance of £125million to the EFL and the National League to aid struggling clubs.

On the subject of the season restarting, the statement added: ‘It was acknowledged that the Premier League will not resume at the beginning of May – and that the 2019-20 season will only return when it is safe and appropriate to do so.

‘The restart date is under constant review with all stakeholders, as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic develops and we work together through this very challenging time.’

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