Gordon Taylor angry at comments from Health Secretary Matt Hancock over footballer wage cuts
Gordon Taylor has expressed his astonishment at Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s continued attacks on players as the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) chief executive called for clarity on club finances as pay cut talks rumble on.
Football has come under scrutiny as the coronavirus pandemic continues to escalate, with the Health Secretary quick to highlight the supposed lack of support being offered by well-remunerated players.
Hancock urged top-flight professionals to "take a pay cut and play their part" on Thursday, perhaps unaware Premier League captains were already in discussions about how players could help during the coronavirus outbreak.
But while that fund edges closer to a launch, other matters remain up in the air. The Premier League suggested players take a 30 per cent wage cut or deferral, only for the PFA to issue a statement saying such a move could result in a £200m tax deficit.
Wayne Rooney said the way the last few days had panned out have been a "disgrace" and the former England captain called into question Hancock’s reasons for focusing on players at a time of national crisis.
But criticism from Rooney and other high-profile figures has not led to change of tack from Hancock, who on Sunday instead reiterated his call for players to do more.
Taylor told The Telegraph: "I found it astonishing that Matt Hancock could come out like that when he’s got his own issues with trying to get the necessary protective health equipment for our NHS workers and didn’t have the tests in place either."
Former Southampton midfielder and Sky Sports pundit Matt Le Tissier agrees with Taylor and believes Hancock should not have targeted players.
He said: "I think it was wrong of him to single out footballers. I know he was asked a direct question but there would have been a far better way of answering it than the way he did.
"If he wants the wealthiest people in society to make a contribution towards wto hat is going on at the moment, then that should be done as a whole and not singling out one industry."
The PFA joined the Premier League, League Managers Association and representatives from all clubs on a conference call on Saturday.
- Liverpool place some non-playing staff on furlough
- Man City decide not to furlough non-playing staff
Talks will continue this week and Taylor has implored clubs to give the detailed financial information they had been expecting in order to make sure money goes to the right places.
"I think if they can’t do that and explain the position fully then they have every right to expect players to mistrust what is happening," he added.
Asked if players were concerned about where the money would go, Taylor said: "Exactly that. They want the complete due diligence. They’re not stupid. They’ve not just got their brains in their feet. They want to know the reasons for it and where it’s going."
The issue of footballers’ pay has become a hot topic since top-flight clubs started placing some non-playing staff on the government’s furlough scheme.
Liverpool became the fifth Premier League team to embrace that framework on Saturday, but Manchester City have confirmed they will not be furloughing employees.