London (AFP) – Newcastle defender Danny Rose is willing to contribute a portion of his wages to those fighting the coronavirus outbreak but says Premier League players feel their “backs are against the wall”.
Top-flight stars have come under increasing pressure to take pay cuts from government officials after a number of clubs said they would use public money to subsidise pay for non-playing staff.
The Premier League said on Friday that clubs would consult players over a combination of pay cuts and deferrals amounting to 30 percent of their annual salary.
They agreed to provide a £125 million ($153 million) fund for the English Football League and National League and pledged £20 million in charitable support for those affected by the coronavirus.
Talks were due to take place on Saturday between the league, clubs and players’ representatives.
Newcastle, where Rose is on loan, and his parent club, Tottenham, are among clubs to have furloughed some non-playing staff during the crisis, prompting criticism as players continue to receive their full salary.
“We’re all keen to make something happen,” Rose told the BBC.
“I can only speak for myself but I would have no problems whatsoever contributing some of my wages to people who are fighting this on the front line and to people who have been affected by what’s happening at the minute.”
On Friday, a hospital in London identified Rose as the individual behind a £19,000 donation to hospital funds.
Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson led talks between Premier League club captains over what action they could take, a move that begun before Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Thursday joined those singling out footballers.
– Pressure –
“We sort of feel our backs are against the wall,” Rose said. “Conversations were being had before people outside of football were commenting.
“I’ve been on the phone to Jordan Henderson and he’s working so hard to come up with something.
“It was just not needed for people who are not involved in football to tell footballers what they should do with their money. I found that so bizarre.”
Wolves captain Conor Coady said it was time for players to help out.
“It’s fantastic to see people trying to make the effort,” he said. “It’s something everyone wants to be part of. As footballers, it’s important we help as many people as possible.
“What’s come out now is the 30 percent cut. We get judged every single day of our lives. The time now is to go forward and make a donation.”
On Saturday, Burnley said they would face a shortfall of up to £50 million if the Premier League season could not be completed.
“It’s a completely unprecedented situation that we and other Premier League clubs face and which we could not have foreseen in anyway only just a few weeks ago,” said Burnley chairman Mike Garlick.
“It’s now not just about Burnley or any other individual club any more, it’s about the whole football ecosystem from the Premier League downwards and all the other businesses and communities that feed from that ecosystem.”
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