Southampton FC have announced that their first team squad, manager, coaching staff and board of directors have agreed to defer 10% of their salaries until June, amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
This comes as a surprise to many after Premier League clubs had previously asked their players to take a pay-cut of 30% during this pandemic in order to protect jobs, but had little success after this announcement in mid-March.
The Saints have also announced that they will not be using the Government’s Job Retention scheme during April, May and June, and that staff not deferring their salaries will “continue to receive 100% of their pay” thanks to aforementioned wage deferral set out by Club Owners Mr. Gao and Katharina Liebherr. This is in stark contrast to Tottenham, Newcastle, Bournemouth and Norwich City, who have all announced that they would be furloughing some of their non-playing and sending the bill to Number 11 Downing Street.
Southampton have said in a club statement that the actions taken by the entire club and part deferral many high-earning salary will “help protect the future of the club, the staff that work within it and the community we serve”.
The statement went on to say:
“Everyone at the club remains fully committed to the community we value so highly in Southampton. We will continue to offer our full support to the city of Southampton through the work of the Saints Foundation and provide any further assistance we can. In these unprecedented times we are dealing with many challenges to our business model and day-to-day operations. The situation is ever-evolving and we will continue to monitor and assess the impact to the club over the coming weeks before deciding any further action necessary”.
The club also used this opportunity to ask all those affiliated and connected with the club to comply with government guidelines and advice. The club’s activity at all sites – including Staplewood Campus Training Ground and St Mary’s Stadium – continue to be suspended except for essential activities.
This club statement concluded with The Saints confirming that they are continuing to do all they can to prepare the club for a return to the pitch and will ensure that, when safe, they are ready to play and serve the people of Southampton again, with an overall situational review scheduled for the end of April.
While a decision to implement a ‘pay-cut’ or ‘wage deference’ is made on a club-by-club basis, Premier League footballers have launched a “collective initiative” in partnership with with NHS Charities Together (NHSCT), to help generate funds to the National Health Service and other key areas under the hashtag, #PlayersTogether. This comes after high profile figures such as Neymar, Marcus Rashford, Joe Cole, Danny Rose, Andy Robertson, Kasper Schmeichel and the entire Liverpool squad have all raised and/or donated money to charities fighting Coronavirus and providing help to the most vulnerable in their local communities.
Football followers and fans of all loyalties will be hoping that the actions taken by the Saints will spur more self-inspired action from the Premier League community to give more to those who need it the most.