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Premier League wages row: Clubs accused of having no 'moral compass' as talks continue

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PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor

PA Archive/PA Images

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor

Football chiefs are set to continue seeking ways to salvage the domestic season as the sporting shutdown is extended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The players' union, the Professional Footballers' Association, is holding talks with the Premier League, the English Football League and the League Managers' Association regarding a possible collective agreement on wage deferral.

The bodies issued a statement saying that although no decisions had been reached on Wednesday, they shared a "constructive" meeting, and would continue talks "in the next 48 hours".

UEFA has cancelled all of its competitions until June, including the Euro 2020 play-offs, while the Danish Football Association reported that the Women's European Championships, scheduled for England next year, will be pushed back to 2022.

While the likes of Lionel Messi and Barcelona have led by example and taken significant pay cuts, no Premier League club as yet to announce wage deductions for their highly-paid players.

Earlier this week, Tottenham became the second Premier League club to confirm they have put all 550 of their non-playing staff on a government scheme designed to protects jobs through to the end of May.

There was no announcement about their playing staff.

Following Newcastle United's decision to make a similar move on Monday, Tottenham's staff will now be funded by the British government's furlough scheme after Spurs chairman Daniel Levy confirmed all operations at the club have 'effectively ceased'.

Tottenham's announcement came just minutes before it was confirmed that Levy received £7million from the club last year, £3million of which was a bonus for the completion of the club's new stadium.

Julian Knight, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, has accused Premier League clubs of having no "morale compass" by cutting non-playing staff.

"It sticks in the throat," said Knight.

"This exposes the crazy economics in English football and the moral vacuum at its centre."

Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Gordon Taylor has warned there must be no relaxation of rules relating to the financial conduct of clubs as the union continues discussions on wage deferrals.

A division-by-division agreement may not be possible, Taylor concedes, but he suggested a task force could assess deferrals at clubs on a case-by-case basis.

What the union is keen to avoid is a situation where clubs defer payments to players on hardship grounds but then move into the transfer market.

“It’s not a time to be relaxing regulations on financial propriety when we have already had problems with Football League clubs such as Bury.

“If a club is doing deferrals then the regulations state that they would be embargoed from signing any players,” he said.

“It’s ridiculous to have clubs deferring their obligations to players and then making big-money transfer signings.

“Also the football creditor rule must remain in existence rather than have clubs build up debts, many of which would be to the players, and then write those off, and look to reform again. So there are lots of situations we need to be protected from in order to hold things together.

“We feel it’s much better if we have a task force, and that we look at particular clubs in particular divisions through that means in order to justify things to the players."

Online Editors