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​Premier League condemned for furloughing non-playing staff

The UK government's chair of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport committee, Julian Knight, has criticised Premier League clubs for furloughing non-playing staff, while continuing to pay players in full, saying they are living in a "moral vacuum".

Knight has condemned the actions of some Premier League clubs, who have furloughed non-playing staff.

Tottenham, Newcastle and Norwich have opted to utilise the government's job retention scheme during the pandemic.

"It sticks in the throat," said Knight.

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

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan told BBC Radio 5 Live that top-flight players should be the ones to "carry the burden".

"My view is always that those who are the least well-off should get the most help," he said.

"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 [government] benefits for five weeks."

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme means the government will pay staff placed on furlough - temporary leave - 80% of their wages, to a maximum of £2,500 a month.

Knight is concerned that the scheme is not being used in the appropriate way.

"This isn't what it's 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," said the MP for Solihull.

"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% of their wages rather than furloughing them on 80%."

Ian Ferris
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Ian Ferris

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