Premier League players should help lower league clubs during the Coronavirus crisis

Updated: Mar 24, 2020

Uncharted waters. Unprecedented times. Two phrases uttered more now than ever before.


Due to the forced postponements and cancellations of all English Football League and National League fixtures since 13th March, clubs have lost a damaging amount of revenue from ticket sales.


However, they are still expected to pay the wages of their players, coaches and general staff, as well as maintain the upkeep of their facilities.


Football has always worked on a capitalist model. The football clubs with the most money are rewarded with the most income; newly promoted Premier League teams, Bournemouth being a prime example in the recent past, have survived at the top by using the lucrative TV deals and endorsement opportunities.


Although an inconvenience for opulent owners such as Sheikh Mansour (Manchester City) and Roman Abramovic (Chelsea), the shutdown is unlikely to cause them a severe financial crisis and act as a mere drop in the ocean.


However, lower league football clubs, in particular those with non-league status, are the clear downtrodden victims of the Coronavirus outbreak. Predominantly, their infrastructure relies on the proceeds gained from home support. If authorities decide that the matches are not to be rescheduled, resulting in the season being abandoned, a significant number of football teams will face financial peril. Many clubs are rightly fearing increased debt and eventual ejection from football, after the English Football League made an example of Bury FC in August for failing to meet financial expectations.


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Therefore, the footballing world should use this medical and economic crisis to prove that the industry is both charitable and philanthropic. Since the millennium especially, football has sprouted a band of critics. They claim that money has tainted the beauty of the game.


Time for Premier League players to prove them wrong.


It is estimated that the average Premier League player pockets over £3 million every year from wages alone. What's more, these players will still be earning during this desolate period.


The extreme and ever-growing popularity of the sport has made it financially viable for owners to rapidly increase player salaries, as they have become confident that the revenue from tickets, merchandising and television will more than cover the costs. It sounds obvious, but Premier League players only have the fans to thank for their lucrative wages. Surely now it's time to repay them - no fan, regardless of the team they support, wants to witness a club face liquidation.


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Every Premier League player is financially secure: both now and in the future. If the English Football League and the National League asks them to donate a proportion of their salary, they could distribute the funds to help resuscitate those in dire need of assistance.


However, failing that, if the leagues are not comfortable with approaching them, the Premier League players could inject money into an institution of their choosing, perhaps a local team or a club close to them personally. Unsurprisingly, this would serve as a weaker strategy; firstly, by allowing players the choice, they are more likely to opt out. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, foreign players may not have the same romantic connection to local teams, which would realistically result in fewer charitable donations.


So how would this work in practice? Let's use Florain Lejeune as a case study: a non-British central defender that finds himself in an out of the first team at Newcastle.


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According to www.spotrac.com, Lejeune earns £38,000 every week. If every player were asked to donate 25% of their salary, the Frenchman would offer up £9,500 every week.


This system would see the likes of Raheem Sterling, who is supposedly on £300,000 a week, offer £75,000 to the cause. As the world is coming together and supporting each other through adversity, it's time for football to protect its roots.


With 30 or 40 Premier League players per club, there is no doubt that this regular injection of cash will substantially improve lower league clubs in their fight for survival. However, whether the leagues will be brave enough to issue this as a compulsory measure, or whether Premier League players voluntarily offer their support, remains to be seen.


For now, only time will tell.




Do you have a better solution? Comment your thoughts below.





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