|    July 21st, 2021

Raw Deal

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It is grossly unfair that professional footballers are being singled out as needing to do more in the current pandemic.

The top earners in this country already contribute significantly to the nation’s finances and it is estimated that by simply asking them to take a 30% pay cut, it will reduce the tax take by some £200m and actually achieve the opposite of what those who currently criticise seek to achieve.

The Premier League has not handled this particularly well by announcing that players should be asked to take a 30% pay cut before even consulting with players to clarify the detail of how this would be achieved in practice and more importantly how the savings made would be deployed.

Manchester United players have agreed to pay cuts on the understanding the monies saved go to local hospitals in Manchester and that should be a template for all clubs. The suspicion that the savings will simply go back to the clubs is what has upset so many players. It should be for an individual player to decide to whom he wants to donate at this time of national crisis, and he should do it willingly and not be pressured publicly to do so.

Will the same public pressure be applied to Formula One drivers, tennis players, rugby players, bankers or company CEOs? Many in these categories have decided to contribute willingly and that is how it should be. The companies who register overseas but trade in the UK and make scant contribution to the UK economy are perhaps worthy of more media attention than they are getting too!

In my experience players do not get the credit they deserve for the things they frequently do. Many give up time each week to support the invaluable programmes that club community schemes operate, from toddler games to walking football for seniors, as well as their work with the disabled and young people from underprivileged backgrounds across the country.

More and more top players are setting up their own charitable foundations which do great work, but that sort of activity is not deemed as worthy of coverage compared to an individual who behaves badly. We live in an era where bad news is deemed to be what people want to hear and read more so than good news. But with so much media focus on the bad news surrounding the pandemic statistics, maybe we could do with a few more positive stories.

Players see more and more clubs furloughing non-playing staff in order to secure an 80% contribution from central government. Most clubs in the pyramid structure are struggling financially but the wealthier and profit-making clubs need to consider whether it is appropriate to take government money at this time. Maybe there should be a defined profit level (based on latest accounts) above which a club cannot be eligible to take advantage of the 80% contribution.

Everyone has a part to play in helping the NHS at its time of need but footballers being targeted in the way they are is a raw deal. If you’d like to donate to the NHS head to https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/help-our-nhs

If you are interested in the services Integral Sports Management provides, please contact Mark Arber E: marber@integralsportsmanagement.co.uk

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