02 April 2020

Health secretary Hancock tells Premier League footballers to 'play their part' and take a pay cut

Health secretary Matt Hancock has told Premier League footballers to 'make a contribution' by taking a salary cut during the coronavirus pandemic.

In the Government's daily coronavirus press conference, Hancock made clear his position on what the highly-paid players should do during this difficult time.

He said: "The first thing they can do is make a contribution, take a pay cut and play their part."

He said this was particularly pertinent, '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'. 

Clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur have put their non-playing staff on the Government's furlough payment scheme, but as of Thursday the players' wages remain unaffected by the pandemic.

And while there is growing pressure for footballers to take salary cuts, former Spurs and England player Gary Lineker  implored the public to hold fire on their criticism.

He told Sky News: "It's now up to the players how to respond. Let's give them a chance to respond before this hugely judgemental pile-on that we always get nowadays.

"Footballers are always an easy target but what about - and I hate whataboutery - but big businessman, the CEOs of these big companies, what are they doing at the moment? Nobody ever seems to care about them.

"But footballers, who do an unbelievable amount of good in the community generally that never gets reported on, who do lots of things for people, who are doing lots of things to raise awareness during this dreadfully difficult time.

"So let's wait and see and see where they go and in two weeks' time I'll be the first to criticise them if they do nothing."

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