‘True colours’ – Former Stoke City striker weighs in on player pay cut row



Jonathan Walters has praised Stoke City for not leaning on the government to pay staff during the coronavirus crisis.

The Potters have vowed they will not utilise the governments furlough scheme to pay 80 percent of wages for non-playing staff.

That is in stark contrast to Premier League clubs including Liverpool, Newcastle and Tottenham despite, moves which have drawn heavy criticism.

“I want to applaud my old club Stoke, who before any Government schemes came out, said they would keep paying all non-playing staff until August,” Walters wrote in the Mail on Sunday.

“My first thought as a player in this situation would always have been that we need to look after the heart of the club. The kitchen staff, grounds people and security staff. You spend more time with these people than your own family.

“This crisis has brought out the best and the worst of people. It has shown a lot of people’s true colours. Those who are helping the most in need and those who are taking huge bonuses and laying people off. When we are through this, we must not forget how people treated others.”

Meanwhile, Walters has criticised health secretary Matt Hancock over his call for Premier League players to take a pay cut.

However, the former Republic of Ireland striker says footballers are an easy scapegoat and their contributions in taxes are overlooked.

“No one ever seems to mention what football actually contributes to the economy, not only by way of players’ taxes but throughout the sport.

“People have called on footballers to take wage cuts, and it looks as though Premier League clubs are going to discuss this with their players.

“This raises an interesting dilemma. The majority of players are paid through the PAYE system. I always was — I never had any image rights. That’s 45 percent tax plus national insurance. Nearly half of what they earn goes to the Treasury.

“The average Premier League player earns about £3million a year. So, around £1.4m of that is tax, which goes to the NHS, the police, public services. Let’s say that player takes an 80 per cent pay cut, just to exaggerate the example. He then earns £600,000 a year with only £270,000 of tax.

“Spread that across 500 players and that’s the difference between £700m and £135m going to essential services.”





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