City chief on player wage deferrals

PUBLISHED: 12:59 01 April 2020 | UPDATED: 15:56 01 April 2020

Some of Norwich City's squad have discussed the issue of possible wage deferrals according to sporting director Stuart Webber Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Some of Norwich City's squad have discussed the issue of possible wage deferrals according to sporting director Stuart Webber Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

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Norwich City have had exploratory talks over player wage deferrals, ahead of reported discussions between the Premier League, EFL and PFA designed to agree a collective way forward across the professional game.

Sky Sports claim on Wednesday lunchtime a meeting is planned today between the key stakeholders to try and thrash out a collective agreement covering player salaries, from the Premier League to League Two.

City, along with an increasing number of clubs, announced on Tuesday they plan to furlough some members of staff, while pledging to top up the salaries of affected workers, as part of the government’s job retention scheme.

Prior to that news, sporting director Stuart Webber had made it clear some of Daniel Farke’s squad have already raised the idea of following the example set by the coaching staff and players of Leeds, who last week agreed to a deferral to protect the jobs of non-playing staff.

Another Premier League shareholders’ meeting involving City and the other 19 top flight clubs is scheduled for Friday as football attempts to deal with the financial impact of the global pandemic.

“It is too early to ask a player to give up some of his salary when at the moment I couldn’t look him in the eye and say the reason we are doing this is because we will lose X,” said Webber, speaking on the latest edition of Guillem Balague’s Pure Football podcast. “Once we get to the point of understanding what the losses would be then it is for everyone to get together.

“We have had those conversations with our players, and it has come from them that they understand they might need to help, but on behalf of our club it is too early.

“We don’t know if it’s £10m, £5m or £1m we could potentially lose out on. It shouldn’t be used as an opportunity just to try and kill players because they earn a lot of money.

“That may come for all of us but it has to be done in the right way and it might actually strengthen the bond, that when football needed to come together, it did.”

Webber acknowledged City’s self-sustainable model could help them adjust compared to some rivals.

“We are a well run club. We cut our cloth accordingly but I am sure a lot of other clubs don’t. And no doubt on a day to day business they must be getting increasingly concerned,” he said. “Football is going to lose money from this, whatever the outcome, and we have to be prepared. The football world has to come together and everyone has to be sensible from players and staff to television companies.

“We are fortunate we are in the Premier League but it is a huge concern and the numbers we could lose our massive and that brings ramifications for years for football clubs. Hopefully ours would be better than a lot.

“But it will still have an adverse effect. We all have a duty to make sure football is still here after this because something like this can devastate certain clubs.”

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