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The FA to cut 30% pay from top earners

THE FA
The highest-paid staff from the Football Association (FA) will take wage cuts of up to 30 per cent as English football’s governing body manages the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham outlined the cost-saving measures in a message to staff which was also published on the governing body’s website. Gareth Southgate, manager of England’s men’s national team, is reportedly sacrificing UK£225,000 (AU$451,407) over the next three months under the plan.

Bullingham proposed that staff earning more than UK£50,000 (AU$100,312) annually should take a cut of 7.5 per cent.

“In the spirit of those on higher salaries taking the greater responsibility, the senior management team have agreed to cut their pay by 15 per cent with the highest earners in the organisation agreeing to reduce their pay by up to 30 per cent,” Bullingham said.

The FA’s announcement comes after the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), the English players’ union, hit back at British government calls for players to take salary cuts and called for clarity on clubs’ plans for the money saved on wages.

UK health secretary Matt Hancock continued his attacks on football players over the weekend.

“The hospices of this country have traditionally been largely funded by charity and charity shops,” he told ITV News.

“Those shops have had to close so I’m putting more money – taxpayer’s money – into hospices to support them but why don’t our footballers club together and support our hospices and support the national effort that we’re all in?”

Those comments came after Hancock urged top-flight professionals to “take a pay cut and play their part” last week.

On 3rd April, the English Premier League suggested players take a 30 per cent wage cut or deferral, only for the PFA to issue a statement saying such a move could result in a UK£200 million (AU$401 million) tax deficit.

While the PFA insists its members want to make ‘significant financial contributions’, the players’ union warned the government that the Premier League’s suggested 30 per cent cut of an annual remuneration amounts to UK£500 million (AU$1.3 billion), of which around 40 per cent would be contributed to tax.

The PFA joined the Premier League, League Managers Association (LMA) and representatives from all clubs on a conference call on 4th April but nothing was agreed.

Talks will continue this week and PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor has implored clubs to give the detailed financial information they had been expecting in order to make sure money goes to the right places.

“I think if they can’t do that and explain the position fully then they have every right to expect players to mistrust what is happening,” he said.

Asked if players were concerned about where the money would go, Taylor said: “Exactly that. They want the complete due diligence. They’re not stupid. They’ve not just got their brains in their feet. They want to know the reasons for it and where it’s going.”

The issue of football players pay has become a hot topic in the UK since top-flight clubs started placing some non-playing staff on the government’s furlough scheme.

Liverpool have become the fifth Premier League club to embrace that framework, but reigning champions Manchester City have confirmed that they will not be furloughing employees at the tax payer’s expense.

Manchester United’s players will donate 30 per cent of one month’s wages to local hospitals and health services in the first major coronavirus gesture from a full Premier League squad.

Chairman Ed Woodward approached captain Harry Maguire with the idea, according to the Daily Mail, and it was given full backing by the players.

United are continuing to pay all match day staff during the crisis and have not sought to use the government’s furlough scheme designed to help struggling companies protect jobs.

Liam Watson is a Senior Journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on international football policy, industry matters and industry 4.0

Major events return to NSW with Matildas match series

Matildas fans

Football Australia have announced that the Commonwealth Bank Matildas will host Brazil in a two-match series next month.

The matches are set to be held at the newly named CommBank Stadium in Western Sydney, on October 23 and October 26, 2021.

October will mark 19 months since the Matildas last played on home soil in a 2-1 win against Vietnam in a Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Play-Off match in March 2020.

Since then, Football Australia has made it a key priority to bring the Socceroos and Matildas home following the significant impact of COVID-19 on the world.

The plan to stage a Matildas double header marks the first of its kind for any sporting code in Australia and opens up opportunities for other international sports and the broader entertainment industry to consider similar arrangements.

This is a symbolic announcement as Australia begins to grapple with a COVID normal roadmap internationally, as the Matildas prepare for a busy international schedule ahead including the much-anticipated FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023.

Behind the scenes, Football Australia has worked tirelessly to develop an innovative Quarantine Management Plan to meet the requirements of Government, taking a leadership role in being a COVID-19 responsible sport and offering solutions that work within Government frameworks, protocols, and vaccination roadmaps.

This announcement also coincides with New South Wales being on target to reach a double vaccination rate of 70 per cent of all people aged 16 and over in advance of these fixtures, with crowd capacities to be determined by the Public Health Order at the time of the matches.

Football Australia Chief Executive Officer James Johnson was delighted with this announcement that will see the Commonwealth Bank Matildas play on home soil for the first time in over 18 months.

“We have made it our priority to bring our national teams home for international football so this is a phenomenal outcome for Australian football and one which we have been working tirelessly towards behind the scenes with both the Federal and NSW Government for a considerable amount of time now and appreciate the efforts of the NSW Government in particular,” Johnson said.

“International football is unique in that players are only made available during an international window of nine (9) days.  With many of our Commonwealth Bank Matildas and Socceroos based overseas, the 14-day compulsory quarantine period for international arrivals effectively rendered any international football in Australia impossible.

“Our team at Football Australia put together a submission based on global best practice, focused on ensuring the safety and wellbeing of players and staff, which has been accepted by the NSW Government and aligns nicely with its roadmap to opening up.

“We are excited that the first matches will be the Commonwealth Bank Matildas against Brazil on 23 and 26 October to be held at CommBank Stadium and can’t wait to welcome fans back into Stadiums.”

With confirmation of theses matches, Football Australia is now in the process of locking in the proposed fixtures between the Matildas and the current FIFA Women’s World Cup Champions, the United States Women’s National Team, in a two-match series earmarked for November 27 and November 30, 2021, both of which are to be hosted in Australia, subject to Government discussions and Public Health Orders.

Liverpool confirms expansion for Anfield Road Stand

LFC

Liverpool Football Club’s proposed expansion of the Anfield Road Stand has been confirmed.

The project, which has been undergoing enabling works throughout the off-season in anticipation, will begin with an official ground-breaking ceremony planned for next week.

Liverpool City Council awarded the club planning permission in June 2021, which included the right to hold up to six concerts and major events at the stadium for a period of five seasons.

The redevelopment of the stand will see 7,000 more seats added to Anfield, taking its overall capacity to more than 61,000. Following two stages of public consultation and feedback on the initial plans, Anfield Road’s expansion project will reroute Anfield Road itself around the footprint of the new stand.

Akin to the construction process undergone by the recently redeveloped Main Stand, the Anfield Road Stand will be worked on throughout the season while matches continue to be played.

Liverpool Managing Director Andy Hughes outlined the steps taken by the club to ensure that the Anfield Road Stand redevelopment could go ahead.

“We have been clear from the beginning that in order for this expansion to go ahead we needed the co-operation of local residents and the community, to successfully navigate the complex planning landscape, and to ensure the project is financially viable,” he said.

“We needed certainty for this project to progress and are now in a position to be able to move forward. We began this journey in 2014 and are grateful to everyone for the contributions they have made to bring the project to this stage.”

When complete, the expanded Anfield Road Stand is expected to create around 400 matchday roles in addition to the 2,200 people currently employed in various operations at each home game, of which 95 per cent are known to live in the Liverpool City Region.

The redeveloped Anfield Road Stand is anticipated to be ready for the 2023/24 season and its design will see the lower tier retained and refurbished with a new upper tier built above it.

As well as an increased capacity, the redeveloped stand will be similar to the Main Stand, with improved concourses and sports bar lounge hospitality facilities. This stand will also see the relocation of the Family Park to a covered position.

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