THIS past couple of days we have received the reassuring news that none of the Chelsea first team football players have suffered the imposition of a wage cut. Good to know as none of us would like to see them struggle.
However, this present crisis has brought into sharp relief the contrasts in fortune of those in our society. We have become very aware of the hardships suffered in the lockdown by large numbers of people in many different ways, and of the generosity and selflessness of many organisations and individuals who have come to their aid.
At the forefront of this effort are those brave, skilled and compassionate individuals who work long hours in our hospital and care homes.
Early in the lockdown there was much talk of Premier League players being in line for a 30 per cent pay cut – a proposal much vaunted in the press and supported by large numbers of the general public.
We were told at the time that discussions were being held involving the PFA while ex-professional players were telling us that Premier League players were being scapegoated. What about the City ‘fat cats’, they demanded?
Ironic given that a number of these former players are now earning comparatively large sums as the fat cats of television punditry.
The outcome of these talks has not resulted in a universal pay cut of any sort though some clubs have been forced to reduce their expenditure in the past few days.
As some sort of sop, we were told that these footballers have contributed undisclosed sums to a charity and do good in their community. All worthwhile PR – but cheaper and far less magnanimous than a pay cut.
Football generally has a higher opinion of its importance to the general public than it merits. The fact that a proportion of the population is fanatical about it, and Sky and BT and others are prepared to spend colossal sums of money to televise it, are the sole reasons that these individuals can be paid the astonishing amounts involved.
And will pointing out the injustice of this ridiculous and anomalous state of affairs change anything in these present tragic circumstances? Definitely not; the genie is well and truly out of the bottle.
However, if it achieves nothing else, the pandemic lockdown has revealed who are the true stars of our society – and they don’t kick a football nor enjoy its immoral and disproportionate rewards. Food for thought if nothing else.
From: Bob Watson, Baildon.
THE Premier League and Football League seem determined to complete the 2019/20 season, even if behind closed doors.
There cannot, of course, be any social distancing in these matches, which in itself is a great concern.
However, there is another issue of an insidious nature that also needs to be taken into account. This relates to the disgusting but widespread habit of most footballers to spit all over the pitch. It will only take one player to contract Covid-19 through coming into contact inadvertently with any spit on the pitch – surely easily done – to make the whole hoped-for return an utter shambles.
In my view the only sensible action is to abort the current season, and look to re-start, much more safely, in the autumn. These unprecedented times require unprecedented actions.
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