Player wage Conundrum: Players must fight fire with fire
By Daniel Finton (Deputy Editor)
Given the current viral crisis, every corporation is experiencing financial challenges, no matter how big or how small. Massive entities such as Arsenal are having to find a way to cut costs at this dire time, as are puny ones such as Tottenham Hotspur, who have just recently withdrawn their plan to move forward with the furlough scheme. The most recent development within Arsenal has been reported by the ever reliable Athletic. The club have reportedly requested that the players take a 12.5% wage cut in order to help with the less than ideal financial situation and help support low income staff.
Though on paper it may seem a good idea, the applying of the proposal was what many London locals would refer to as a "joke ting", given its absolute ridiculousness. In all honesty, the players not responding immediately may be deemed as “selfish” or even “greedy” by many, but they are right to have yet to respond to the proposal.
The board have played dirty in this predicament, there was no need to make the negotiations public, but the board very obviously did so to apply pressure onto the players. From my perspective, this was to try to nudge them in what they perceive to be the right direction.
As a person who was at one time a footballer (admittedly a pretty shit one), I find myself resonating more with the players than those in corporate positions within the club. I find it difficult to believe that the players are completely unwilling to take a temporary pay cut during this dreadful time.
But the way in which the board so filthily tried to manipulate the players into doing so by applying public pressure is pretty pathetic to be honest. They may not be geniuses, but players are not stupid.
The playing staff should fight fire with fire and come out with an also public statement to reply to the request. Though I am certainly far from an expert on the matter, I would advise them to orchestrate a plot of their own and publicly ask the board where the funds would be going. If the 12.5% of the cut of wage for each player was going towards non-playing staff of the club, the players would surely be on board with accepting the proposal.
However, if their wages would be going towards Stan Kroenke’s multi-billion-dollar stadium being built where I am located, here in the United States, then the players can and should tell the board to stick the offer where the sun don’t shine. Transparency is key when the stakes are this high, and the players should not change their stance until clarity is provided.
While it does need to be acknowledged that the players would be far from harmed if they were to witness a cut to their wage, it is unfair to cut their wages just so the board have more funds for other projects readily available. Taking advantage of a worldwide epidemic to fund a new ambition would epitomise insensitivity. If that’s what the board were aiming to do with the public appliance of pressure through a proposition to the players, they should be ashamed of themselves. It's not the players fault they are paid so handsomely.
Soon, the players will undoubtedly take some kind of financial hit. How drastic a change it will be is obviously still to be determined. To save their own asses, the players, who are led by Hector Bellerin as a head communicator, must fight fire with fire.
In this time of darkness the world is supposed to be unifying with one another, not undercutting each other. Both sides should act with maturity and dignity throughout what is sure to be a drawn out set of negotiations. Whilst said talks will inevitably be time consuming, a resolution must be found as swiftly as possible. It must be one that equally benefits and negatively impacts all involved. That is how progress is made; through compromise, not public pressure.