Monday 23 October 2017

Fan: Scudamore 'out of touch'

Richard Scudamore has been criticised for his comments on the issue of the living wage
Richard Scudamore has been criticised for his comments on the issue of the living wage

A football fan who launched a petition calling on top-flight clubs to pay their staff the living wage has launched an attack on Richard Scudamore, claiming the Premier League chief executive has lost his grasp on reality with his comments on the matter.

The day after selling the latest batch of Premier League TV rights to UK broadcasters for an eye-watering £5.136billion, Scudamore said he did not feel uneasy about the low pay handed out by top clubs to their staff when players were taking home huge wage packets.

"No, it doesn't make me uncomfortable," Scudamore told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"The stars that grace the field in the Premier League are world stars, it's a world market. I don't set the market rate, it's set by the world market."

That annoyed Joel Sharples, a Tottenham fan who has been campaigning for the introduction of a minimum living wage for employees of top-flight clubs.

Sharples, in conjunction with Citizens UK - a civic alliance of more than 350 community organisations - is calling for Premier League clubs to pay their staff £7.85 per hour (£9.15 per hour in London), rather than the current minimum wage of £6.50 per hour.

"Richard Scudamore's comments showed he is very much out of touch with reality," Sharples told Press Association Sport.

"He is out of touch with the mood of fans and the population as well with regards to inequality and low pay.

"When you consider that he is personally getting paid a £1.9million salary, plus a £1million bonus... That bonus would be enough to pay for most people to earn a living wage.

"It would cost peanuts for clubs to introduce this."

Last Thursday Sharples set up an online petition calling on all 20 Premier League clubs to commit to paying all their staff the living wage.

Seven days later, almost 45,000 have signed the petition.

"We set this petition up in light of the TV deal and Richard Scudamore's comments," Sharples added.

"We thought it was really important to highlight the staggeringly-low figures being paid to people working at football clubs

"I would love it if 100,000 people signed it."

So far Chelsea are the only Premier League club to commit to paying its staff the living wage.

Others have introduced the living wage - but only to their contracted employees and not to those whose jobs are sub-contracted to them by the club.

"It's disappointing that Chelsea are the only ones (who have signed up)," Sharples said.

"It looks like some clubs are seeking to capitalise on the momentum the campaign is building by putting out these statements saying that they are going to pay their staff the living wage but actually when you look into the detail of it the sub-contracted staff are not included.

"There are a lot of people in that bracket - some staff in club shops are sub-contracted, for example."

Sharples has been unable to arrange a face-to-face meeting with Scudamore to discuss the matter.

The only meetings he has had have been with the Premier League's director of policy Bill Bush.

"I guess you could say it's a little bit of a snub," he said.

"Ideally we would be speaking to him (Scudamore) directly.

"But I suppose it's good they are reaching out to a certain extent."

The Premier League had not responded to a request for a comment at the time of publication.

Press Association

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport