Former Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has criticized the UK government and the Premier League for making footballers scapegoats amid demands of a 30% pay cut across the board.
Rooney who now plays for Championship side Derby County wrote in a column in today’s Sunday Times, stating his belief that “how the past few days have played out is a disgrace.”
Earlier this week, UK health secretary Matt Hancock urged Premier League footballers to contribute by taking a pay cut in a bid to play their part during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Premier League also announced on Friday that they had unanimously agreed to meet with their players concerning a 30% wage deferral to help with the payment of non-playing playing staff during the pandemic.
Rooney has not taken the suggestions lightly and used his column to question if the health secretary was “desperate to divert attention from his government’s handling of this pandemic?”
According to Rooney’s article, it would be understandable if Derby County needed him to a pay cut and adds that “if the government approached me to help support nurses financially or buy ventilators I’d be proud to do so — as long as I knew where the money was going.”
However, he believed that sweeping of 30% across the board is questionable as players in different clubs earn vastly different salaries.
The announcement by the Premier League “increases the pressure on players and in my opinion, it is now a no-win situation,” argues Rooney, before he highlighted that professional players are already contributing to the NHS through their taxes:
“Whatever way you look at it, we’re easy targets. What gets lost is that half our wages get taken by the taxman. Money that goes to the government, money that is helping the NHS.”