Aston Villa Wage Deferment Statement
Over the past few weeks Aston Villa supporters have waited with interest to see how their club would react to the situation of safeguarding the club financially in the short-term in the face of the current pandemic, including the paying of non-playing staff.
The good news is judging by the below statement issued today from Villa CEO Christian Purslow, the club has taken a welcome principled approach.
All first-team players, first-team coaches and senior management have agreed to defer 25% of their salaries for four months, with a review to come at the end of this period.
While other clubs have flirted with and indeed taken up furloughing, it’s reassuring to see Villa rise above this.
There has been some confusion over the action of player’s taking cuts/deferrals in wages, not helped by the Professional Footballers’ Association stance of resisting cuts, with the suggestion that such cuts would ultimately hurt the NHS, as the player’s tax contribution would lower.
The shallow attempt to use the NHS as leverage in its argument was quite frankly embarassing by the PFA.
First off, the issue with player wage cuts wasn’t to help the NHS, it was to help football itself.
The concept of Premier League clubs paying players currently doing nothing, healthy five-figure (plus) sums a week, and then taking advantage of the government’s furlough scheme for non-playing staff was morally bankrupt from a societal point of view.
To answer the PFA’s tax argument, players (and senior staff) really should be making a percentage of their wage (a cut or deferral) an ‘after tax’ contribution to their club/football, so their tax contribution would be untouched (by the way, their tax monies do not all go directly to the NHS!).
The football pyramid needs help, as the ramifications of this pandemic will bite hard, and for some clubs lower down the pyramid, their continued existence is sadly questionable. This pandemic doesn’t suddenly end and its back to normal. Social distancing measures will be in place for mass gatherings for a while, as lockdown restrictions are lessened. Most clubs outside of the Premier League rely on gate receipt revenue, so they’ll be severally impacted.
Villa’s 25% deferment of wages amongst the high earners at the club, as well as helping the club, also shows solidarity to their non-playing teammates and supporters in these strange times.
A further positive step was the club agreeing to the use of Villa Park’s North Stand for the delivering of maternity care, with the club accommodating West Midlands NHS Trust to set up a maternity unit to serve the area.
Christian Purslow’s Statement
In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic the thoughts of everyone at Aston Villa are with those families suffering loss and the incredible NHS staff who are risking their own safety to help so many others.
The club remains fully committed to serving our local communities through the Aston Villa Foundation and we want to help and ensure our people and our resources can be put to use while we are not playing football.
Consequently we have made all our facilities available to the multi agencies working so hard to protect people during this time of national emergency.
I am pleased to announce today measures to protect the livelihoods of our precious staff and their families.
First-team players, first-team coaches and senior management have all agreed to defer 25 per cent of their salaries for four months to assist the club during this period of uncertainty with a further review taking place at the end of this period.
During the two seasons since Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens rescued Aston Villa they have supported and funded the rebuilding of the Club with a huge level of personal financial investment.
They are continuing to provide substantial funding which, combined with these significant salary deferrals, enables Aston Villa to confirm that all non-football staff – full and part time – will be retained and paid in full throughout the lockdown. There will be no furloughing of staff.
Our players and staff feel great solidarity with the many clubs in the football pyramid who have financial problems and we believe it is right and proper that the Premier League as a whole takes action on its finances collectively to enable it to be able to continue to provide vital funding throughout the game in England.
Stay Home, Protect The NHS, Save Lives.