Coronavirus wrap: Players face 30 per cent cut – and more heartbreak for Yarde

Premier League clubs will ask their players to take a 30 per cent pay cut to assist with the payment of non-playing staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

Stars and clubs have come under fire after some furloughed non-playing staff without looking at players’ wages during the coronavirus crisis.

Following a meeting on Premier League shareholders on Friday it was also acknowledged that the season could not begin in May, with the restart date to be kept under constant review.

The league also confirmed an immediate advance of £125million to the EFL and the National League as clubs at the lower levels struggle with a loss of revenue amid the stoppage.

A further £20m will be committed to the NHS, and others left vulnerable by the pandemic.

It comes after Premier League captains discussed how best to help support and fund the NHS during the coronavirus crisis at a meeting on Friday, the PA news agency understands.

Football has come under increasing scrutiny as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to escalate, with health secretary Matt Hancock taking aim at top-flight players’ supposed inaction in Thursday’s daily briefing.

But discussions between Premier League players were under way days before those comments and the PA news agency understands that the captains of all 20 Premier League clubs held a meeting on Friday to discuss the situation.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson helped organise what is a collective, league-wide effort, with the players’ ability to help worthy causes during the escalating situation high on the agenda.

England’s leading cricketers announced their own response on Friday as the centrally-contracted members of the men’s and women’s teams agreed to make donations.

The men’s team will make a contribution of £500,000 to the England and Wales Cricket Board and selected good causes – equivalent to 20 per cent of their retainers for the next three months – while the women’s team will take a voluntary reduction of their salaries for April, May and June in line with those taken by coaches and support staff.

The announcement, made by the Professional Cricketers’ Association, comes after several days of discussions over how the country’s leading cricketers might respond to the pandemic.

England women’s captain Heather Knight said: “All the players felt like it was the right response in the current climate to take a pay cut in line with what our support staff are taking.

“We know how the current situation is affecting the game and we want to help as much as we can. We will be discussing with the ECB further ways we can help the game in the coming weeks.”

The announcement from the players comes after the ECB’s chief executive Tom Harrison announced earlier this week he was volunteering a 25 per cent reduction in his salary as part of wider cost-saving measures, with similar moves expected throughout the county game.

In the week that saw this year’s Wimbledon tournament cancelled, the Lawn Tennis Association has announced a package of support worth around £20million for tennis venues, coaches, officials and players in Britain affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

A statement from the LTA said the money will “aid those who have been most severely affected by the pandemic” with the focus on protecting the grassroots, although there is also support available to the professional game.

LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd and members of the executive team will take a 20 per cent pay cut, while a number of staff are expected to be furloughed from next week.

LPGA Tour commissioner Mike Whan said the tour will not resume until the majority of international players are able to compete in tournaments.

It was announced earlier on Friday that the US Women’s Open, scheduled to take place in Houston in June, had been postponed until December, as part of a move that saw the next five LPGA events postponed or cancelled.

Once golf resumes after the Covid-19 crisis, international travel is likely to prove an issue for some players and Whan insists that no events will be played until the majority of eligible players are able to participate.

British light-heavyweight Anthony Yarde revealed his grandmother has died from the coronavirus, just a few days after his father’s death as a result of the pandemic.

The 28-year-old fighter appealed to people to “just stay home” as he said his grandmother had died on Thursday.

“It’s serious!” Yarde wrote on social media. “People are still going out when they don’t need to. I know there’s a lot of opinions about Covid-19 and I have mine but I just know opinions ain’t worth risking your life and others. Just stay home.”

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