Premier League

Coronavirus: UK MPs lay into pampered Premier League clubs

MP Julian Knight says it "sticks in the throat" that footballers are earning huge salaries while non-playing staff are hit in the pocket.

Coronavirus: It sticks in the throat - MPs point finger at footballers over salaries

Premier League footballers have been accused of living in a "moral vacuum" and urged to reduce their huge salaries by two prominent politicians amid the coronavirus crisis.

Tottenham, Newcastle United and Norwich City are among the clubs to have used the UK Government's furlough scheme for non-playing staff.

That job retention initiative enables employees to be paid 80 per cent of their wages - up to a maximum of £2,500 per month - by the Government while on temporary leave.

Julian Knight, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, says the scheme was not brought in to assist top-flight clubs while players remain on massive wages.

"It sticks in the throat," said Knight. "This exposes the crazy economics in English football and the moral vacuum at its centre."

He added: "This isn't what it was designed for. It's not designed to effectively allow them to continue to pay people hundreds of thousands of pounds, while at the same time furloughing staff on hundreds of pounds.

"I don't know whether or not the Treasury can legally turn down these applications. But at the same time I think football needs to have a good, long, hard look at itself and see whether or not morally this is really right, and whether or not actually what they need to do is come to an arrangement with some of their stars so they can continue to pay their [non-playing] staff 100 per cent of their wages rather than furloughing them on 80 per cent."

Sadiq Khan: "It should be those with the broadest shoulders who go first"

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, echoed those sentiments.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "My view is always that those who are the least well-off should get the most help.

"Highly paid football players are people who can carry the greatest burden and they should be the first ones to, with respect, sacrifice their salary, rather than the person selling the programme or the person who does catering or the person who probably doesn't get anywhere near the salary some of the Premier League footballers get.

"It should be those with the broadest shoulders who go first because they can carry the greatest burden and have probably got savings, rather than those who work in catering or hospitality who have probably got no savings and live week by week and who probably won't get the [furlough] benefits for five weeks."