Manchester United players will donate 30 percent of their wages to local hospitals and health services in the first major coronavirus gesture from a full Premier League squad.
The move was the idea of club captain Harry Maguire and was given full backing by the players, the Daily Mail reported on Friday.
United are continuing to pay all matchday staff during the crisis and have not sought to use the government’s furlough scheme to help struggling companies protect jobs.
The independent move by United players came as talks continued between the PFA players’ union and the Football League and Football Association, looking at possible wage cuts or deferrals during the current shutdown of the game.
Professional football in England has been suspended until April 30, at the earliest, due to the pandemic with some top- flight clubs putting non-playing staff on leave.
Health minister Matt Hancock said on Thursday that players should take a pay cut and “play their part” after he was asked about the morality of clubs using the government’s job protection funds for non-playing staff while still spending huge salaries on players who are sat at home on full pay.
Prominent opposition Labour MP David Lammy had earlier said: “It’s criminal that Premier League footballers haven’t moved more quickly to take pay cuts and deferrals.”
The comments from politicians led a number of former players to rush to the defence of their profession. (Reuters)