Alan Brazil has told footballers to donate to the NHS amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis to send out a message that the sport is NOT in a moral vacuum and actually cares.
Premier League clubs have begun furloughing staff using the government’s scheme to save money during the COVID-19 pandemic, though players continue to be paid their full salaries.
Newcastle were the first top-flight club to make the decision to place employees on gardening leave, with Tottenham following their lead earlier this week by reducing the pay of 550 staff by 20 per cent.
There has been much anger at the continuation of players being paid full wages while non-playing staff are furloughed, with Simon Jordan, the former Crystal Palace chairman, accusing clubs of ‘nuzzling the government’s teat’ and ‘eating itself’ in a passionate rant on talkSPORT.
Premier League clubs have also been accused of living in a ‘moral vacuum’, while Mayor of London Sadiq Khan made his opinion clear that high-earning players should be the first to sacrifice their salaries in these troubling times.
And talkSPORT host Brazil is frustrated with how football has so far stayed out of the ongoing crisis.
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He is angry at the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) reportedly telling its members to not accept pay cuts before consulting the union, and also at agents who are telling their clients to just stay out of it.
And Big Al believes players taking it on themselves to donate money to the NHS would be a sign that football does care about things outside its bubble.
Speaking on Thursday’s Sports Breakfast, Brazil said: “I don’t like the PFA at the moment and what they are saying, basically ‘leave the footballers alone’ and ‘we’re not agreeing to it’.
“Gordon [Taylor] has got to get real here: I think Gordon has got to sit down and think ‘what can we do for the image of football?’
“And some of the agents are saying ‘I’m not telling my player to do anything’; they’ve got to BUTT OUT here – this is a moral decision from a player.
Simon Jordan's passionate rant on talkSPORT
Below you can read Simon Jordan's entire rant after football clubs furloughed staff but continued to pay players their full salaries
“I believe there is a moral issue around an industry like football that has been awash with money.
“Football players and football clubs over the last five years have really had it on their toes with the revenues that have increased because of the broadcasters.
“I think there is a situation here where football has to look at itself and say, ‘do I really, just because the government is offering its teat, have to nuzzle on that?’.
“’Do I really have to take that money, that £2,500 per employee or 80 per cent of it, to support myself?’.
“I don’t think they should do it [furlough staff].
“I think it is an awful look for football, and I think it’s awful Premier League footballers are being paid £250,000 to £500,000-a-week and the government is having to support Premier League clubs.
“There’s a balancing act between being commercially sensible about what you are doing and not disadvantaging yourself as a business, and looking at yourself and thinking ‘am I the sport that’s eating myself?’.
“The guys that have to close their restaurants and the guys that have to close their commercial businesses are going to lose that revenue and possibly never get it back.
“Are we suggesting football is never going to get this revenue back? If football suddenly gets these games back and we get through this dreadful crisis, how did these businesses need that money?
“I’m sat here saying: Come on football, you can’t sit there and have every footballer in the Premier League on an average £70,000-a-week and seriously say ‘let’s not cut the players’ wages first before we go to the government to fund our own staff’.
“Come on! There is a moral obligation here – there has to be.
“Football has GOT to take a pay cut!”
“A player can go to the dressing room and say ‘okay, I’m in. I’ll put a little bit in’.
“If they can do it for the staff and the National Health Service it would be fantastic.
“It would be a great image; it would be a great message out to supporters who are involved in the NHS.
“It would be a great message to them that football cares.”
Listen to Alan Brazil’s rant on talkSPORT, in full, above…