Premier League stars lack morals in coronavirus crisis - politicians

Premier League footballers have been accused of lacking morals during the coronavirus pandemic.

Politicians in the United Kingdom, including the mayor of London and the chair of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport committee (DCMS), have blasted clubs such as Tottenham, Newcastle and Norwich who have furloughed non-playing staff while footballers continue to earn full salaries.

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

Meanwhile, Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, added: "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 one 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 were in catering or hospitality who have probably got no savings and live week by week and who probably won't get the [government] benefits for five weeks."

Clubs across Europe have taken pay cuts including Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Bayern Munich.

Lionel Messi confirmed on Monday that the Barca squad are happy to take a 70% hit on their salaries because of the coronavirus pandemic, while Juventus announced on Saturday that players and coach Maurizio Sarri reached an agreement over a wage reduction that will save the Italian champions €90 million in the 2019-2020 financial year.

On Monday, Manchester United said they are confident they are under no pressure to ask players to take pay cuts.

But Brighton & Hove Albion chief executive and deputy chairman Paul Barber defended the actions of Premier League clubs.

"It's a very difficult time for everybody and I can fully understand why people think that the football industry and particularly the Premier League has got a lot of cash," he said. "In many cases that's not the case, it's a bit of a myth, but what we have to do is protect jobs.

"We're doing whatever we can to do that and that's the priority at the moment for just about every industry in the country, including ours."