It appears that the coronavirus pandemic is beginning to get to everyone, with Wayne Rooney just one player to stick his head above the parapet and blast Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, for his suggestion that football players should reduce their salaries.
“The first thing to say is that if Derby County needed me to take a pay cut to save the club I would understand and look to support them in whatever way I could,” Rooney wrote in the Times.
“And if the government approached me to help support nurses financially or buy ventilators I’d be proud to do so — as long as I knew where the money was going. But I’m not every player. I’m 34, I’ve had a long career and I’ve earned well. I’m in a place where I could give something up. Not every footballer is in the same position.
The notion that somehow professional football players should be taking a financial hit when hedge fund managers and the like are sitting pretty on their cash is clearly something that has got Rooney’s back up too.
“Yet suddenly the whole profession has been put on the spot with a demand for 30 per cent pay cuts across the board,” he continued.
“Why are footballers suddenly the scapegoats? How the past few days have played out is a disgrace. First the health secretary, Matt Hancock, in his daily update on coronavirus, said that Premier League players should take a pay cut.
“He was supposed to be giving the nation the latest on the biggest crisis we’ve faced in our lifetimes. Why was the pay of footballers even in his head? Was he desperate to divert attention from his government’s handling of this pandemic?”
As more clubs begin to furlough their non-playing staff, it appears that the situation will only get worse before it gets better.
The PFA have also weighed in on the argument via BBC Sport, suggesting that whilst reducing players salaries by 30% would save 500m, it would also mean a loss of £200m worth of tax payments which would ultimately help out organisations such as the NHS.
Clearly, such unprecedented times are going to call for some creative accounting from everyone, including all business and the government themselves.
Rooney notes that he would be more than happy to help, and one could expect others will follow suit. However, it seems that Matt Hancock has scored a huge own goal by attacking the footballing fraternity and using them as the example.