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Chancellor urged to tax Premier League clubs who lay off staff but leave player wages untouched

Chancellor urged to tax Premier League clubs who lay off staff but leave player wages untouched

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy announced 550 non-playing staff will take a 20% pay cut (PA)

3 min read

Rishi Sunak is being urged to impose a”windfall tax” on Premier League clubs who refuse to cut the salaries of their high-earning players while football is put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic.

The chair of the culture committee Julian Knight has written to the Chancellor in the wake of teams putting non-playing staff on furlough while their stars remain on full pay.

He said sanctions should be brought in unless the “two-tier system” between players and club employees is fixed by next Tuesday.

The league is currently suspended amid the Covid-19 outbreak until at least 30 April with players told to self-isolate. 

Mr Knight said: “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.

“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.”

He has also written to the Premier League chief executive Richard Masters calling for his members to be “role modelling a responsible approach” rather than acting divisively. 

“Non- playing staff keep Premier League clubs in business, ensuring the smooth running of finances, administration, kit, stadiums and player welfare,” his letter states.

“It is deeply unfair that these staff should take less money home while players retain their full salary. 

“The purpose of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is not to support the economics of Premier League clubs.”

It comes after criticism of Tottenham Hotspur’s announcement that 550 non-playing staff will take a 20% pay cut during the outbreak, but not its star players like England captain Harry Kane, who is paid £200,000 a week.

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, who was paid £7million last year, said "people need to wake up to the enormity" of the coronavirus pandemic.

But Mr Knight said the decision "exposes the crazy economics in English football and the moral vacuum at its centre".

He said: “It sticks in the throat that clubs are continuing to pay their stars hundreds of thousands a week while furloughing staff on a few hundred pounds a week."

Newcastle United were the first Premier League club to place their non-playing staff on temporary leave earlier this week, and instruct them to apply for the job retention scheme.

That is in contrast with top clubs on the continent, where players have taken wage cuts to protect .

Barcelona’s team are taking a 70% salary cut, while Juventus players and manager Maurizio Sarri have agreed to freeze their pay for four months, and in Germany top sides Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have also agreed to take pay cuts.

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