There has been a great deal of criticism aimed at the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) regarding their response to the Coronavirus crisis, and I can’t help thinking that a lot of it is justified.
It is now almost a month since the last ball was kicked in the Premier League, and the PFA is under increasing pressure to secure both the incomes of non-playing staff employed at football clubs around the country, but also to make a contribution to fighting the virus. The latest statement by the PFA attempts to justify its current position, but also contains the perverse argument that the NHS may be damaged to the tune of £200M if Premier League players are required to take a 30% wage cut. By an extension of this same logic, all that is then required to fund a fully-functioning health service is to double the players’ wages. Or why stop there? Treble them. Quadruple them. Won’t we all then be benefitting every time a player signs a multi-million-pound contract? I wonder.
The fact is that the PFA has acted too slowly in this crisis and neither Gary Neville’s aggressive indignation nor Wayne Rooney’s aggrieved whinging is helping to improve the current image of football.
Premier League players’ salaries have been a source of disquiet for fans for decades. However, the love of the game and the loyalty to a club have tended to make fans overindulgent––perhaps too overindulgent––to the wages played to the top players. This concern is now brought into particular focus when there is no football being played. An overpaid footballer who is not playing football is simply overpaid.
If the PFA does not act quickly now, it may find that football fans are not quite so indulgent to the excesses of its players ever again.
© Donnie Blake
Donnie Blake thinks enough is enough.