Matt Hancock has defended his call for highly paid professional footballers to donate some of their salary to others during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Health Secretary told talkRADIO this morning that charities had been hard hit by the outbreak of Covid-19, after lockdown rules have made it increasingly difficult to fundraise.
“Given the extraordinary sacrifices that so many people are making, I think the least that the Premiership football players could do is donate some of their very large salaries to others,” he told Julia Hartley-Brewer.
Julia challenged Mr Hancock over whether this meant a donation to charity or taking a pay cut to help secure the salaries of non-playing club workers, which he had implied at the government’s daily press briefing yesterday.
The Cabinet Minister responded: “One way or the other, I think they should do their part.”
Following Mr Hancock’s statement last night, the Professional Footballers’ Association swiftly released a statement admitting players must “share the financial burden”.
But some Premier League teams have made use of the furloughing scheme - including Tottenham in a move criticised by their former striker Gary Lineker - and the PFA said clubs should only be doing so if it is absolutely necessary.
A statement from the players’ union said: “We are aware of the public sentiment that the players should pay non-playing staff’s salaries.
“However, our current position is that - as businesses - if clubs can afford to pay their players and staff, they should.”
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