Daily Briefing

Today’s back pages: Premier League and EFL stars braced for pay cuts and Man Utd are poised to snatch Sancho

A round-up of the sport headlines from UK newspapers on 26 March

Football feels the pinch

The Guardian, Daily Express and the Daily Star are three of the papers to give prominence to reports that Premier League clubs will start slashing the salaries of their stars as the coronavirus shutdown begins to bite. 

German giants Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have trimmed the wage packets of their squads in recent days, and according to the Guardian, something similar will soon be introduced at Spanish champions Barcelona, with negotiations underway “to cut player wages by up to 70%”.

The Daily Star has a photo of Paul Pogba proudly showing off his shaved head, and the paper warns the Manchester United midfielder that his hair won’t be the only thing to be cut. 

According to the Daily Mail the lockdown, which will last to at least early May, will be felt from the top flight down to League Two. 

“Clubs face going out of business, many players fear losing their livelihoods, not to mention the support staff behind the scenes, from physios to press office,” reports the paper. 

And the lack of football could have a major bearing on future TV deals with broadcasting executives bracing themselves for more than £750m in lost revenue.

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Sancho swoop

The message that belts will have to be tightened doesn’t appear to have reached Old Trafford with the Daily Mirror and the Daily Star devoting their back page to the claim that Manchester United are poised to make a record £120m bid for Jadon Sancho. 

“Sancho snatch” is the headline in the Star with the paper claiming that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is “winning the race” for the Borussia Dortmund ace. 

The Mirror says that the Red Devils are “raring to go” with the transfer swoop for Sancho, who turned 20 yesterday. 

The England winger has attracted interest from Liverpool, Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid in recent months but the Mirror claims that United are determined to get their man, “despite the club record-breaking price it would take to do”. 

United’s previous biggest transfer fee was the £89m they paid Juventus for Paul Pogba in 2016.

Transfer ‘free-for-all’ as summer window could stay open until January

Lottery losses to hit Olympic athletes

It’s not just footballers who may find their finances taking a hit as a consequence of coronavirus. 

According to The Times, Britain’s Olympic athletes are facing a “funding black hole over the next four years because of a slump in sales of lottery tickets”. 

The sale of lottery tickets is in freefall and as a result there will be less cash available to distribute to what the paper describes as good causes.

More than two thirds of funding provided by UK Sport to Olympic and Paralympic sports and athletes is derived from the sales of lottery tickets, and it’s inevitable that this sum will be reduced in the years ahead. 

“The scale of the funding gap will not be known until the pandemic and associated restrictions are over,” says the Times.

But with so many business and organisations expected to be hit hard by the economic lockdown, funding for sport will be a low priority for the government when life starts returning to normal.

Today’s sport headlines

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