Premier League players COVID-19 response criticised

by .

Welcome to Saturday, I hope you are feeling GREAT today. Fit, healthy and locked in a room playing Champ Man, the 99/00 game, you know, before it became far too complicated. Don’t worry lads, I’m bringing Pablo Aimar over to dazzle the Premier League crowds. It’s going to be a good season.

The hot debate RAGING online at the moment seems to be focused on Matt Hancock answering a question about Premier League footballers. He basically said people are dying, footballers should make a sacrifice, and take a pay cut.

I really, really can’t understand the backlash. Especially from sports journalists who whipped up the initial frenzy by lambasting Joe Lewis and Daniel Levy for trying to take taxpayer money to fund the furloughed workers at Spurs before cutting money to the players (Liverpool have just done the same).. I also suspect that part of the response was for PFA so far refusing to accept cuts to players wages, despite the impending doom for the clubs, and the non-sport workers who earn less and are hit hardest first. When these asks come from above for most of us, you take them and thank the employment lords you’re still in the game. The PFA counter-point that footballers have families rings hollow, we all do, most of us don’t have a choice though.

Top explayers like Joey Barton are saying this is a deflection attempt because the Government has bodged the response. I’m not sure I agree here, I think this is a statement about how huge community organisations should behave. The other narrative that the Twitter crowd seem to be latching onto is that this is an attack on working-class kids who’ve made it.

Please. What a load of nonsense. This has nothing to do with class. In this climate, if you behave badly, you are going to be on the receiving end of a savaging Just Google Mike Ashley. Do a Twitter search for Phillip Green. Look on The Guardian for stories about Richard Branson. As for bankers, they’re also facing a beasting for their part in the small business loans debacle being played out, and let’s be honest, they’ve been abused pretty hard for the last ten years for their 2008 crimes.

Back to footballers. The Premier League is deservedly taking a pummeling in the press. The good news has been thin on the ground. There’s been no collective effort to help. Most of the news has centred around pressing issues like getting the game back on TV. Compare that to La Liga where Messi has led the charge in making sure local workers are paid up, or Atleti who took a similar community-driven pay cut that ensured workers continue to be paid. Similar patterns in Germany and Italy.

‘You should blame the owners’

Sure, we can just blame the billionaires, but we can’t have it both ways. Footballers are working-class heroes or they’re not. If they care about the community, they should take a leaf out of the NFL book. At a collective level, the teams have raised £35m for the COVID-19 crisis. Individually, the good news just keeps on rolling out. Brady donated 10m meals. Drew Brees donated $5m of his own cash. The stories just keep rolling.

Google ‘Premier League covid donations’ and there’s not a lot to pick from. Jordan Henderson might be starting a fund. The United players are leading the way with a donation to the local NHS groups. Outside that, it’s slim pickings.

*Update: Premier League has donated £20m to the NHS, which is a good start*

Is this a class issue? If it is, the US working-class millionaires seem to be far more inclined than our to contribute to the needy in a time of crisis.

So whilst the UK Government is doing a bad job, it’s hard not to look at one of the most high profile leagues in the world feel a little disappointed at our efforts as a collective and at an individual level.

Key thing to remember, you don’t stay working class for long when you move into the 0.1 percentile of UK earners. You can take the view that we shouldn’t expect much, sure, but I do. I also think a lot of players are aware that they should be playing a bigger role. Arsenal always over-deliver on things like this, I was overjoyed to see them protect their casual workers. It’d be nice to see the players do something, especially when the rest of the country is suffering physically, emotionally, and economically.

Right, that’s me done.

See you in the comments.

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79 Responses to “Premier League players COVID-19 response criticised”

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  1. Tom

    I wonder whether the slow and inadequate response from the PL players has anything to do with the fact the vast majority are foreign, possibly about to change clubs or even leagues.
    Who on Arsenal has a long term future for example? Anyone is dispensable and could be gone next season or one after.
    The NFL is a different animal all together.
    Most NFL stars need to protect their brands for any future endorsement deals.
    Any negative publicity now might be costly down the road.

  2. Marc


    “Top explayers like Joey Barton are saying this is a deflection attempt ”

    What the fuck? Joey Barton in the “top player” bracket? The only thing he’s ever been in the top bracket of is being a Scouse gobshite.

  3. Pedro

    Tom, I think that the German response is because they have more of a collective identity. But to Marc’s point, you’re not even seeing acts of generosity from the players doing things for their home nations.

  4. Uwot?

    The krankies are only interested in the good ole USA.Not Blighty.Thats obvious from the last dozen years or so.expect f** k all & you won’t be disappointed ☹️

  5. James wood

    Evidently The Kroenke are paying all their hourly paid staff in the USA
    For the next 30 days.
    But no donation towards any other type of fund .

    This greed will be remembered.

  6. London gunner

    It seems like these footballers might be paranoid that any temporary wage reductions may become permanent.

    I think otherwise they would donate the wages. I means their is selfishness but whose that selfish they can’t donate 4 months of wages.

  7. Emiratesstroller


    Liverpool have not behaved in the same way as Spurs regarding their non playing staff. They have committed to paying their staff in full.

    Also I think that premier league footballers should make voluntarily an offer
    to reduce their wages. The average wage in EPL is £70K pw week. Making a
    short term sacrifice would indicate a degree of “humanity”.

    Bluntly I don’t think that it should be necessary for the PFA to be “negotiating”
    such a deal.

  8. Emiratesstroller

    Correction I am wrong and Pedro is right Liverpool have put non laying staff on
    furlough and are paying them 80% OF WAGES.

    It is Everton who are keeping staff an paying wages.

  9. Jamie

    You’ll be surprised at how quickly things turn back to normal once an effective vaccine has been developed.

    People have super short memories, especially when a prior risk has been nullified.

  10. Mulerise14

    Ouch .. ..apologies my two-year old gooner sent that before am ready.
    …….adjust,from the players to the clubs.
    While fans did not begrudge the players when the going was good-to whom much is given expected-its time to give back to the game that has given them so much.
    Messi is a good example of this.
    Clubs have a big share to play too,now is not for thinking about only themselves,but to look how they can help their immediate community and their non-playing staff.Man united has taken lead in this as a big club should and sp*rs is anthethesis of what we need now.
    Football is a game we all love,but we all have to look out for ourselves in this trouble times.

  11. andy1886

    From the BBC today: “the PFA and leading agents think wage deferrals rather than cuts are preferable at this stage.”

    Badly misjudging the public mood on this one. Old fossil Gordon Taylor doing his members no favours at all.

    Meanwhile “The Premier League faces a £762m financial penalty if the season does not resume, players have been told.

    Such a penalty would apply if broadcasters demanded refunds on games they could not show, the league said during a conference call on Saturday.”

    So, the truth is clear, this is about money, no doubt about it. There will be exceptions but a significant proportion of participants in this rotten business are only interested in their own selfish best interests.

  12. Marc


    That’s quite interesting because it’s only (I know using the term only when talking about millions) £35 odd million per club – when you look at transfer fees and wages it’s not that much really.

  13. Marc


    As clubs get different amounts from the TV money did the article mention whether it’ll be spread evenly or vary from club to club?

  14. andy1886

    Marc, yup, it’s probably close to the average net spend per PL club for one window. And the miserable f*kers aren’t prepared to let it go when millions are losing their livelihoods and thousands are losing their lives. Bollocks to the lot of them.

  15. Marc


    You’d think most PL clubs could get through it what’ll start causing major issues is if this runs into next season.

    As it stands there’s no way Arsenal can email me early May advising ST renewals are due by the end of the month / early June!

  16. Nelson

    I still think that the EPL teams have too many foreign players. All they want are money and then leave. They have no love to the society. FA should try to protect teams from the lower leagues. It is better for the society when the EPL teams have more home grown players. In times of need, they would be more willing to help out.

  17. Moray

    Will the European cups payout this year?

    CL group revenue by club is, what, 20m? Uefa maybe half?

    If those cups don’t play out then that is also potential revenue not forthcoming and further revenue lost for the clubs,
    Particularly the top clubs.

    If I was a club chairman now I would be very very careful before entering into the transfer market.

  18. Moray

    @james, any refunds from this season yet?

    Also, why extend a season ticket when we don’t even know what the world will look like in September?

  19. JayJay

    People will soon go out on the streets run a riot, can’t wait.
    Telling you this for a roll of shit paper

  20. James wood

    My son has heard nothing from the club re he’s season ticket.
    Moray 5.40.
    I would imagine the terms and conditions apply to re schedule
    but they accept no liability.
    If the season is totally cancelled which seems likely then I would
    imagine they may give you those games of your next season ticket.?
    Although with the Kroenke in overhaul charge I would rule nothing out.

    It makes sense to give you those games at least that would ensure more
    guaranteed season ticket sales that’s my take.

  21. Spanishdave

    The government money is the tax payers money, so we will be picking up the tab.
    There will be extra taxes to pay for this .
    The greedy mercenaries don’t give a toss about the club it’s me me me me me.
    It must really be a struggle on 70k a week, twice what nurses get a year.

  22. Spanishdave

    Panic over the wife’s got her Lurpak today!
    Funny how suddenly favourite foods become a panic buy.

  23. andy1886

    Jamie, am pretty sure that Liverpool and Spurs were the most profitable clubs based on recent accounts. Which makes their actions even more despicable.

    The little clubs are the ones that could go to the wall, could be we end up with a smaller professional league structure and back to some form of regional competition in the lower divisions.

  24. Sid

    NelsonApril 5, 2020 01:23:02
    I still think that the EPL teams have too many foreign players. All they want are money and then leave.

    The EPL wouldnt be what it is without the foreigners Henry, DB10, Van Nistelroy, cristiano, Drogba, Suarez, Diego costa, salah, mane, Aguero

    And the top 50 earners probably earn more than the bottom half combined.

    Im telling you this for free!

  25. Sid

    The UN planned to use corona virus as a hidden enemy to scare the hell out of people in order to mandate vaccinations for the “common good”
    One could imagine why the pandemic started in Wuhan at a time there were protests against pollution.

    You heard it here 1st!

  26. CG

    Stan still silent?
    Playboy Josh still partying??
    Raul and Vinny still tongue-tied???
    Edu still hanging out with Kia????

    Silence as usual. Disrespect as usual to the fans.

    Absolute travesty what has happened to this great club.

    The inertia continues.

  27. Marc

    “If the season is totally cancelled which seems likely then I would
    imagine they may give you those games of your next season ticket.?
    Although with the Kroenke in overhaul charge I would rule nothing out.”

    There is actually a precedent at Arsenal on this – with a ST you get 19 PL matches and 7 cup credits that cover the FA Cup and European matches. In previous years if the club doesn’t use up all of the cup credits you get that amount knocked off the following years ST – this season we’d only used 5 cup credits and with the Qtr final of the FA Cup away and the Semi’s played at Wembley we don’t have any potential to use them up.

    Based on that the Club would be putting itself in a difficult position with fans if it didn’t offer the 2 cup credits and 4 PL matches off of ST renewals, attendances haven’t been great something the club is acutely aware of as they reduced ST prices the last couple of seasons due to EL instead of CL matches.

  28. Jamie

    andy –

    It’s so poor. One of the most profitable clubs in the game paying all their top earners full whack while they tap the tax payer to fund their low-paid staff.

    Ethically bankrupt.

  29. Marc


    I have a simple solution to who gets the European spots for “next” season and beyond. Any club putting lower paid staff on furlough are banned from European competition for 5 years.

  30. Uwot?

    Jesse Is this a late April fools? F** k me.Their will be riots if we sign that joker.has to be a wind up!

  31. Hitman

    A charitable contribution to NHS is red herring.
    This is more about survival of clubs, consistency of treatment of all employees, and solidarity.
    I have no problem with clubs putting non playing staff on furlough. They are a business. You would if you could.
    The ethical issue is why Players and mangers aren’t also being furloughed?
    They can’t train or play.
    They should be on £2500 max PER MONTH at 80%.
    Only then can football industry claim that we are in it together. That would be powerful.
    Otherwise it snacks of greed and one rule for us and another for them.

  32. Moray

    Hitman, this crisis is highlighting like never before the gap between rich and poor, privileged and wretched.

    Soon, food will be short. And maybe fresh water. People in desperate situations do desperate things. London has already seen riots even in the good times (for most).

    Change is coming.

  33. Marc


    I think you’ll find Moray was predicting some kind of socialist utopia where people are equal and wealth is evenly distributed.

  34. Guernsey Gun

    Just seen a horrible bbc gossip piece about arsenal being interested in Jesé lingard!!! Fucking hell we can’t of sunk that low. The thought of watching that clattering fanny do his bullshit tiktok dances after getting a tap in against Bournemouth…..doesn’t bear thinking about. We’ve had our full quota of yoonited rejects. No.No.No.

  35. Sid

    MarcApril 5, 2020 12:14:54
    I think you’ll find Moray was predicting some kind of socialist utopia where people are equal and wealth is evenly distributed

    It could take that shape also along with totalitarianism, the point is the current system is headed for collapse like mosts systems before.

  36. zaco

    if what i’m hearing about this Covid-19 is true, then is the world going to sit idle and watch this happen?

  37. Sid

    The world will sit idle,
    human beings have domesticated themselves to extinction.
    (People with Williams-Beuren syndrome have more childlike faces, and tend to be friendly, garrulous and trusting, completely non-aggressive.)

    You heard it here 1st!

  38. andy1886

    Can’t be the rapture – that’s heralded by Spurs winning the PL obviously. Probably has more to do with people being stuck at home for days on end with a full stock of booze….

  39. Moray

    Marc, there is no socialist utopia and I’m certainly no socialist.

    Our current way of living has been unsustainable for many years now. And the last twelve years have just driven asset prices up while flatlining wages, which serves only to benefit those who can afford them. On top of that we’ve been living in a consumerist bubble, annually upgrading our phones and becoming addicted to them in the process.

    I don’t think we will see life going back to how it was before. Maybe 30% of people will lose their jobs and many will have no way back into the workforce due to structural economic change and automation. There will be opportunities of course for a small percentage, but how we even view work and remunerate people will need reviewed. It needed reviewed anyway.

    There is more mainstream talk of things like a guaranteed annual income for all, four day weeks as standard, etc. All changes that before this crisis would have been the stuff of a Corbyn dinner party.

    I certainly don’t think we need a socialist utopia but we need answers and solutions to the problems we have now and which lie ahead and to which our current economic model and political systems do not and cannot solve.

  40. Marc


    I was actually fucking about.

    On a serious note things will go back to normal – they always do and have done countless times after traumatic events. I do agree about the level of unsustainability we live by but the first thing people are going to want to do when this is over is go out to their local and meet up with friends for a drink or book a holiday.

  41. Moray

    Marc, there will no doubt be people who want a holiday and a few who can afford one. But how Long until new travel firms and airlines can spring up? Will people still nip over to Barcelona for a weekend after this, will people feel comfortable going to the cinema, going out for meals? We will definitely see a change in people’s behaviours, shopping patterns; ways of life.

    The fact is that the world needed a big change in how things worked anyway and things have been failing for a while nowS this virus is the trigger. With the potential to automate much of our economy, so we need so many people doing so much? Is the gig economy sustainable? These thousands of startups, many of which are unprofitable, how will they endure? What is going to happen when the QE finally has no effect?

    I think the binary right or left wing; right and wrong needs to be replaced by much more pragmatism. And a more even-handed approach. Either that or we all tool up and fight to the death over the remaining food and water sources in a wilderness of our own making.

  42. Aussie Gooner


    Couldn’t agree more. We will have to get used to a new normal and down grade our expectations. No more mass consumerism and rabid consumption of resources,instead expect mass unemployment, unregulated poverty, spiraling personal debt, reduced standards if living, decimated pension schemes etc.

    However the global elite will still prosper and the Chinese will continue their plans for world domination by stealth by buying up more arable land, major infrastructures, water supplies, mineral resources, energy production etc in other countries. All while the average citizen marches to a different beat – like this one:

    Not to be too pessimistic but after COVID-19 has done the rounds, what next? What other nefarious viruses are waiting in the wings?

  43. þorkell einarsson

    Why on earth would Ars. move for utd.s Lingard in the summer window ??
    It makes no sense .. hope its bullish rumor. Surely Balugun or Tyree are
    more promising