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PFA urges talks on money fears

THE Professional Footballers’ Association has called for urgent talks with the Premier League and the EFL about the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic on players and clubs.

The loss of matchday revenue due to the suspension of professional football has hit hard, particularly in the EFL, and raised the prospect of clubs asking players to accept wage deferrals.

Birmingham City have reportedly become the first Championship team to do so, with the club seeking approval from players earning more than £6,000 a week to take a temporary 50 per cent cut in salary.

The PFA has now urged all sides to talk in a bid to tackle the unprecedented issue. ‘As with other industries, the current Covid-19 crisis is having a severe impact on the finances of the game,’ a PFA statement read.

‘Several clubs have already approached players with a view to imposing pay deferrals.

‘In order to deal with this situation, we have called for an urgent meeting with the Premier League and the EFL to discuss how we might proceed going forward.’

Meanwhile, Premier League clubs will donate thousands of tickets to NHS staff in a show of support for those dealing with the pandemic.

Brighton kicked off an initiative for clubs in the Premier League, EFL, Scotland and Northern Ireland to donate 1,000 tickets for matches when football eventually resumes.

Seagulls chief executive and deputy chairman Paul Barber proposed a club-to-club baton system and nominated Bournemouth, who quickly agreed to match Brighton’s pledge.

Barber said: ‘I hope this will just be the start. This is a small way in which we can show our gratitude for those NHS staff on the frontline who are fighting the battle and give them something to look forward to.’

■ BOURNEMOUTH striker Callum Wilson and Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin are leading lights in the #FootballUnited initiative, aiming to raise £100,000-plus for communities hit by the pandemic. Reece James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and Andros Townsend are also involved.

■ PLAYERS and directors at Bayern Munich have agreed a temporary 20 per cent pay cut. The move is aimed at helping Bayern’s other staff. Borussia Monchengladbach’s players last week became the first in Germany to forego pay and Dortmund are in talks about a similar move.