Gary Neville has laid into football club owners over their silence as the Sky Sports pundit called on club chiefs to be decisive during the period of uncertainty due to the coronavirus crisis.
Tensions between players and their clubs’ hierarchy has been palpable ever since football ground to a halt due to the spread of the deadly disease in the UK, with clubs anticipating a huge financial hit as a result.
Clubs have been looking to strike a deal with players to take a wage cut to ease the pressure, while some clubs have sparked controversy by furloughing non-playing staff before cutting the wages of their top earners.
Gary Neville has hit out at the lack of communication from club owners during coronavirus
The outspoken pundit has vented at club owners for how they’ve behaved during the crisis
Southampton and West Ham players have agreed to take wage deferrals, with the Professional Footballers Association advising players to refuse wage cuts being proposed by their clubs.
Arsenal players came close to agreeing a 12.5 per cent wage cut earlier this week with the vote of one player being decisive in refusing the proposition. Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has reportedly intervened in an attempt to ensure a compromise is reached.
And Neville has expressed his frustrations on the lack of communication coming from the owners.
Arsenal players have held crisis talks over proposed wage cuts after tension with the board
Tottenham and Liverpool reversed on decisions to furlough non-playing stuff during the crisis after receiving widespread backlash from football fans, pundits and former players
‘Where are they owners, the CEOs? Why aren’t they communicating?’ he told Sky Sports’ The Football Show. ‘There is an abyss of information lost. We’re just speculating.
‘The government and other businesses are communicating every day and football has gone quiet. It would be nice to hear from them to see the challenges they’re facing, what discussions have taken place.
‘They tried to get players to take a pay cut on a Friday afternoon without telling them; they need the players to come back on board. In times of trouble and crisis, even if you don’t know the outcomes, you need to communicate.
However, Newcastle United have remained unmoved in their decision to furlough staff
WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENT’S FURLOUGH SCHEME?
When an employee is placed on furlough they are temporarily put on a leave of absence and not paid, although they remain on the payroll, meaning that they do not lose their job.
This could be because there is no work for these employees, or that the company is not able to afford to pay them, because of the effects of the coronavirus crisis.
In the United Kingdom, the Government is offering to pay 80 per cent of a furloughed employee’s wages, up to £2,500 per month, until they are able to resume their job full time. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will last for at least three months from March 1.
‘You can’t go quiet. Where are these owners? We haven’t heard anything from them. It’s what every other industry leader does and these clubs have not got a grip of it.’
Neville then turned his fury on the actions of owners in furloughing non-playing staff during the crisis. Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool had sparked controversy by taking up the government’s offer of paying 80% of the wages of staff, before performing a dramatic U-turn on the decision.
Newcastle United had also opted to furlough staff. The Premier League outfit have remained unmoved on the matter.
‘I think it’s bordering on disgusting,’ he added. ‘I pay people in my hotels to look after my guests. They’re not doing anything at the moment so should I just chuck them out on the street? The reason we have workers’ rights is to defend people from people like that.
‘It’s disgusting, you have to do the right thing. These are human beings. The reality is none of this was their doing. The idea of a EFL owner saying we shouldn’t pay them if they’re not playing.
‘Are the executives being paid at this time? It’s truly terrible how some club owners are trying to act in this crisis and why players look at them and don’t care about them and won’t take a pay cut for them.’